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The Prison Dream

I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world.
I lie and rest my head on the beloved’s lap;
I see myself rising like a falcon to the air;
Alighting on the roof of Mehmoud I become eyes of Ayaz.
I rise from the quiet heart like a tender love song,
Bartering for houris the age of courtesans.

I dream I am sitting on the cool bank of Jindai –
My beloved amongst maidens stands out as a candle;
Her red lips smile and tell me to weep on,
‘Drink your lifeblood, for it is a joyous wine.’
I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world

I dream of an evening at a garden full of flowers –
Red eyes of the cupbearer with wine in red hands;
Fingers on a sitar in elation like Khayyam’s,
Gently turning over it the sweet fable of love.
I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world

I dream that the white moon is rising with a smile;
My sweetheart is shy and slowly approaches me –
Wine comes to the lips, demise to the mouth,
And measure for measure she gives me red élan.
I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world.

I dream that I set out shrouded in a zephyr;
Go to my darling’s side as a vision of love;
Hang before her eyes like a desert dream,
And lose in one jangle the riches of my life.
I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world

I dream that I set out like a butterfly;
Fly round a narcissus and skim past a jasmine;
Circle the necklace round the beloved’s delicate neck
And hail her, invisible, with silent greetings.
I dream, and seek for it some answer from the world

I dream that I rise like the cry of Mansoor –
A handful of dust, I become an ocean of light.
But then I hear the Azaan and wake up with a flurry.
Sleep takes away the dreams and the world comes to life
Saying, ‘lie down Ghani Khan, do your time in jail.’

Hyderabad Jail – 1948


Translated from Pashto by Taimur Khan

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