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Mainstream, Vol XLVII No 13, March 14, 2009

A Few Days More

Sunday 15 March 2009, by Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Only a few days, dear one, a few days more.

Under oppression’s shadows condemned to breathe,

Still for a time we must bear them, and tears, and endure

What our forefathers, not our own faults, bequeath:

Fettered limbs, each impulse held on a chain,

Minds in bondage, our words all watched and set down

Courage still nerves us, or how should we still exist,

Now with existence only a beggar’s gown,

Tattered, and patched every hour with new rags of pain?

Yes, but to tyranny not many hours are left now;

Patience a little, few hours of lamenting remain.

In this parched air of an age that desert sands choke

We must stay now—not for ever and ever saty!

Under this load beyond words of a foreign yoke

We must submit for a while—not for ever submit!

Dust of affliction that clings to your beauty today,

Crosses unnumbered that mar our few mornings of youth,

Torment of silver nights, a pain with no cure,

Heartache unanswered, the body’s long cry of despair—

Only a few days, dear one, a few days more.

(Translated from the original Urdu by Victor Kiernan;

published in Mainstream, December 25, 1971)

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