When Man Sits Down in Dust
Manhood stands tall and high, and becomes madness;
The self takes leave of being and becomes ecstasy.
When iron sated with blood embraces love,
It turns into a bewildered sitar string.
When time robs man of love and the loved one,
He sees the beloved’s glory and his own.
How man sprouts when he sits down in dust!
A manjila resting on riches becomes a serpent.
Don’t shower houris and gilman over me. Enough!
God, I swear, I’m not concerned with anyone save you;
Where today, I walk oblivious and proud,
God knows, to this garden, who will be the heir.
I am a Pukthun and am not afraid of death;
I am angered at an empty life and a desolate end.
The river of doubt runs deep through my heart,
Wondering when the brilliant waterfall of hope will flow.
My heart gazes at your indifferent eye and so
At times the great string breaks into tears.
Is music lament or rapture – I cannot decide;
Every tone now moves us, now becomes shrill.
Translated from Pashto by Taimur Khan