The Request – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

The Request

The sun that you stole
Was mine.
The house that you threw into darkness,
Was mine.

The sunshine that smiles in your home, is mine.
My life is bleak without it,
The odor of my grief is heavy on it,
It was mine yesterday and is mine today.

It is I, bereft of light, who am its father.
It is my fire that is embedded in its limbs.
The smell of my sun is in it,
The sun that was stolen from me in broad daylight.

But you cannot be blamed for this theft.
The sun has been stolen in every era.
An afternoon has always died,
Weeping for the sun.

I, lightless, beamless, have a request,
I, a faithless father, stand at your door.
Let me place a sun upon your forehead,
And beg you for my sunlight.

I, who died long ago, beg you to bestow this on me.
Never utter my name again in the sunlight.
If ever some ray asks a question, remain silent,
Or call me a ‘black sun’ and let it go.

This is the request of a father of sunlight.
From this day, on my sunshine is dead to me
Along with the sun it is yours now,
Wherever it smiles, is the home if its father.

The sun that you stole
Was mine.
The house that you threw into darkness,
Was mine.

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Butterflies – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Butterflies

I catch butterflies,
I catch butterflies.

From the beautiful
Flower-scented garden
Of life, I catch
Golden-colored, blue,
Shimmering and yellow ones!
I think that if catch them all,
From the entire forest.
I will jab their butterfly wings
To their shoulder.

But whenever I try to catch them,
My heart begins to tremble
Like a branch of henna
That shivers in the breeze.
And the butterfly takes flight.

Flowers of sin, like some black sun ,
Bloom in my dreams
Their perfume-sodden fragrance
Spreading through each heartbeat.

A delicate, queenly butterfly
Comes fluttering by,
Delighted to see the flowers of sin,
She alights, intoxicated.
I, unaware, pluck all the flowers
And put them into my cloth bag.

But when I start to leave
The cloth tears,
And the butterfly takes flight.

How foolish I was to think
That I could catch a butterfly!

The cold winter of grief
Scorched my flowers of happiness.
The green vine of hope
Shed its healthy leaves.

Seeing this darkness,
They slipped back to the valley, they returned,
The red birds that had flown far to seek
Their desires.

It is the evening of life
Lotus-hearts lie asleep.
The dew drops of my life
Have spilled, some sipped
Deliciously, by the butterflies.

As the night goes by,
I think that day will surely dawn,
That once again the sun will not err,
Regarding darkness.

A milky lotus of the evening
Will bloom upon this earth again.
I hope that once again,
In that perfumed garden
I will be able to catch butterflies.

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The Pan Of Sorrows – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

The Pan Of Sorrows

I will give you the grain of tears,
Roast my sorrows in your pan,
O, tender of the fire.
Tender of the fire, branch of magnolia,
Roast my sorrows in your pan.

I am late already,
The shadows are fading,
The cattle have returned,
From the forest.
The birds have raised their clamor.
Roast my sorrows in your pan,
Tender of the fire.

Hurry, be quick,
I have far to go,
To the place
Where my companions have gone.
I have heard the road to that town is difficult
Roast my sorrows in your pan.
Tender of the fire.

When my turn comes,
Your bale of kindling is damp.
Why has your earthen pan
Become flaccid?
What has gone wrong with your fire?
Roast my sorrows in your pan.
Tender of the fire.

Mine is just a handful of grains,
Roast them, and let me go on my way,
Don’t leave them raw,
Roast them well.
I beg you, bring an end to this wrangling,
Roast my sorrows in your pan.
Tender of the fire.

The wind has dropped,
Its mournful weeping ended.
A sweet heat
Is rising in the stars.
My breaths are like a marriage procession
Whose bridegroom is displeased.
Roast my sorrows in your pan.
O tender of the fire.

Tender of the fire, branch of magnolia,
Roast my sorrows in your pan.

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To Be A Bird – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalbi

To Be A Bird

I wish that I could be a bird
That I could fly, that I could sing,
That I could touch untouchable peaks,
That I could forget the roads of the world,
And never return.

I would bath luxuriously
Drinking long sips of water.
By the shore of a great lake,
I would sing a halting song.
I would go into a flowering wilderness
Gulp the perfume laden winds.
I would warm in a tight embrace,
The peaks of mountains,
Deadened by centuries of freezing cold.
I wish that I could be a bird.

My nest would be among the mulberry trees,
On in the caper, the mesquite or the cypress.
When the cold east wind blew
The jewelled branches would bend
As if playing, swaying
With their hair flying in the wind.
One day there would be a storm
And all the twigs would all scatter.
Nestless, homeless, I would become,
For the rest of my life I would drink the nectar of sorrow
And live my life in its intoxication.
I wish that I could be a bird.

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Listen Mother – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Listen mother

Listen, mother,
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night ,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.

Upon them I lay strips of moonlight
Soaked in perfume,
But the pain does not recede.
I foment them
With warm sighs
Yet they turn on me ferociously.

I am still young,
And need guidance myself.
Who can advise him?
Mother, would you tell him,
To clench his lips when he weeps,
Or the world will hear him cry.

Tell him, mother, to swallow the bread
Of separation.
He is fated to mourn.
Tell him to lick the salty dew
On the roses of sorrow,
And stay strong.

Where are the snake handlers
From whom I can beg for a shroud to cover me?
Somebody give me a shroud that will fit!
How can I wait like a jogi
At the doorstep of these people
Greedy for gold?

Listen, o my pain,
Love is like a butterfly
Pinned forever to a stake.
It is like a bee,
From whom desire,
Stays miles away.

Love is a palace
Where, but for birds,
Nothing else lives.
Love is a hearth
Where the bed of fulfillment,
Is never laid.

Mother, tell him not to
Call out the name of his dead friends
So loudly in the middle of the night.
When I am gone, I fear
That this malicious world,
Will say that my songs were evil.

Listen, o mother
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night ,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.

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My Friend – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

My Friend

My friend, it is my own sorrow
That has destroyed me.
It is a lie to think
That your love had the strength to do it.
I have no complaint against
Heat or drought.
My garden was destroyed
By the dews of spring.

It is not the fault
Of the black night.
The ocean was defeated
By its beloved moon.

Who is it that
Blames death?
A man is destroyed,
By his birth.

The sun that rises
Is certain to sink.
He lies who says
The west destroyed it.

Yes, one can be destroyed
By grieving for dead friends,
Though it is more likely the result,
Of the display of that grief.

The enemy is not the murderer,
I tell you.
Shiv was killed
By those who loved him

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Trees – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Trees

Some trees look like sons to me.
Some like mothers.
Some are daughters, brides,
A few like brothers.
Some are like my grandfather,
Sparsely leafed.
Some like my grandmother
Who threw choori to the crows.
Some trees are like the friends
I used to kiss and embrace.
One is my beloved
Sweet. Painful.
There are trees I would like
To throw on my shoulder playfully,
There are trees I would like
To kiss and then die.
The trees sway together
When strong winds blow.
I wish I could render
Their verdant, leafy language.
I wish that I could
Return as a tree
And if you wanted to listen to my song
I would sing it in the trees.
The trees are like my mother,
May their shade live forever.

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Umara De Sarvar – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Umara De Sarvar

From this life-pond, o my song
Fill your beak
With the water of my existence.
It will not stay until tomorrow –
The radiance of pain,
Or the swans of grief.
Fill your beak today.

Listen ,o my song,
Life-ponds are deceptive,
They dry up in a flash.
The water of existence
Turns ashen and sour
Though you wish it would not happen.
Do not blame me tomorrow
Do not be angry tomorrow,
Fill your beak today.

I am told that the swans of grief
Are greedy.
When a heart dies, they sing.
They gather tears in the season of separation,
Gather them and fly.
They fly away, such a flight do they take,
They never return home.
Fill your beak today.

O my song,
If you fill your beak,
I will wrap it in gold,
I will become your slave,
I will become your shadow.
I beg you,
Do not, like me
Die thirsting,
Fill your beak today.

From this life-pond, o my song
Fill your beak
With the water of my existence.
It will not stay until tomorrow –
The radiance of pain,
Or the swans of grief.
Fill your beak today.

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Ishtehaar – Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Ishtehaar

A girl whose name is Love
Is lost.
Simple, beautiful,
She is lost.

Her beauty, ethereal
Virtuous, like Mary,
Her laughter, blossoms falling,
Her gait, a poem.
Tall as a cypress,
Barely alight,
Yet she undertands the language of a glance.
It has been ages since she was lost
Yet it feels like yesterday,
It feels like today.
It feels like now.

She was standing beside me just now,
She is beside me no more.
What deception is this? What trickery?
I am bewildered.
My eyes examine every passerby,
Scanning their faces,
Searching for that girl.

When evening descends upon the bazaar
And perfumes erupt at every corner,
When restlessness and tiredness
Collide with leisure,
Isolated in that noise,
Her absence eats at me.
I see her
Every moment I feel as though –
Every day I feel as though –
From this throng of people,
From this crowd of odors,
She will call out to me,
I will recognize her,
She will recognize me.
But from this flood of noise
Nobody calls out to me,
Nobody looks toward me.

But, I don’t know why I feel
Indistinctly, obscurely,
Every day, through every crowd,
As though her form moves past me
But I am not able to see her.
I am lost in her face
And stay lost in it
I keep dissolving in this grief.
I keep melting in this grief.

I beg this girl, for my sake,
I beg her for her own sake,
I beg her for everyones sake
I beg her for the sake of this world,
I beg her for the sake of God,
If somewhere she reads or hears this
Whether she be alive or dying
That she come and meet me once
That she not stain my love.
Else I will not be able to live,
I will not be able to write a song.

A girl whose name is Love
Is lost.
Simple, beautiful,
She is lost.<>

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