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King

What good is the world’s kingship?
Why multiply your cares?
It’s hard to weigh justice –
You’d make this more that less.
Don’t you have enough worries
That you seek the world’s troubles?
What would you do with such a throne
As makes you weep night and day?
In a large herd of mules,
The great mule leads the rest –
A great king of beasts
Is the greatest beast of all.
This world – a dog’s tail –
Cannot be straightened or mended;
With a black cat’s body
It blackens more with washing.
A kingdom is created
When half men starve and half die;
When one man feeds the flesh
Of another to dogs at home.
What would such life mean
That you either kill or die?
Where are your fruits and roses?
You keep a garden and kill the bulbul?
Lord, if you grant me
Kingship of the world,
I’ll hurl it out of home
Like dung on a dunghill.
These couple of living moments
I cannot spend in brawls;
Over this pot of cruelty,
Lord, place another lid;
Just give me some flowers
And a lovely sweetheart;
A little garden
On the riverside;
So I may sit on the bank
In the cool shade of a weeping willow
And write with cheer
Some pleasing ghazals –
Now plead to the beloved,
Now curse and taunt the Mullah;
Praise the cup and the cupbearer
To a farmer full of turnips;
And to you, my lord,
Complain like a child.
Now warm and lively hope,
Now burnt out sighs,
Now rhythm and music,
Now chalice and love –
Immersed in a colorful world,
Oblivious of the world.
Give rule to those
Who can endure its force;
With the hand of a butcher
And character of a snake,
Who can sacrifice to themselves
The blood of their brothers;
Who can both eat and digest
The flesh of the poor.
The head carrying the crown
Is the one that kills like a plague;
That roars and tears like a panther
And frightens like a ghost.
The throne cannot be taken
Without sword and hangman;
The more kings there are,
The world is worse for it.
A great king is a great curse
Who thrives on the curse of blood.
Kingship is like fire
And thrives on burning.
Lord, be gracious to us
And keep us from this calamity!
Find a great ass somewhere and
Load it with this bag of gems.
Just beg him once, Sahib,
On my behalf and say,
‘Watch, you pimp’s ass, don’t
Strike Ghani with a kick.”

Hyderabad Jail


Translated from Pashto by Taimur Khan

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