evening :: faiz ahmed faiz

translated by agha shahid ali

The trees are dark ruins of temples,
seeking excuses to crumble
since who knows when–
their roofs are cracked,
and their doors lost to ancient winds.
And the sky is a priest,
saffron marks on his forehead,
ashes smeared on his body.
He sits by the temples, worn to a shadow, not looking up.

Some terrible magician, hidden behind curtains,
has hypnotized Time
so this evening is a net
in which twilight is caught.
Now darkness will never come–
and there will never be morning.

The sky waits for this spell to be broken,
for History to tear itself from this net,
for Silence to break its chains
so that a symphony of conch shells
may wake up the statues
and a beautiful, dark goddess,
her anklets echoing, may unveil herself.