Faiz Ahmed Faiz

(13 February 1911 - 20 November 1984 / Sialkot / British India)

A Prison Evening


Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

Submitted: Thursday, August 03, 2006
Edited: Saturday, August 21, 2010

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Comments about this poem (A Prison Evening by Faiz Ahmed Faiz )

  • Rookie Junaid Ahmed (7/14/2013 10:37:00 PM)

    A great poem by a great poet. Faiz was a poet who amazingly put his feelings in reader's heart. My Salute to him. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 138 Points Spiritual Seeker (7/2/2011 5:53:00 PM)

    Just too beautiful....pure ecstasy in reading (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,911 Points Ken E Hall (2/17/2011 5:11:00 AM)

    Like on a magic carpet reading this work...wonderful composing a treat to read. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 36 Points Mohammad Muzzammil (12/26/2010 12:49:00 AM)

    Nice poem exhibits a great expression of the feelings and the plight of the prisoned people. The language is simple but ideas are soaring touching the sky. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Khalid Hamid Changal (12/2/2010 1:31:00 PM)

    strangely can an evening in a prison be so sweet....brings tears into my eyes.....are da thousands of my kashmiri brothers feeling same in indian prisons or are they not allowed to see the moon? God help all those innocent people languishing in indian jails.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rommel Mark Marchan (7/2/2009 2:29:00 AM)

    a poem of truth about political, human conflict and eternity
    nice penned down

    * I Need Poems Translator (in another tounge)

    Fellow poets around the world,

    It's my pleasure to inform you all that at last I have found a kind-hearted publisher and as part of our project, he suggested me that if possible some of my hits poems should be tranlated into another foreign languages or tribal dialects.
    Would you might to translate one of my original poems preferably of your own choice?
    With your consent, I truthfully include your respective name and your painstakingly translated poem in my ever-dream book of poetry.
    (December this year is our target month for the book launching)
    We believe as a poets that not only temperament and a common
    anguish unite writers but also a PARTICULAR PLACE, A PARTICULAR TOUNGE!

    Sincerely yours,

    RMD Marchan, Philippines


    email me thru: marchanjet@yahoo.com

    ROMMEL MARK DOMINGUEZ MARCHAN (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lime and Tequila with a Splash of Pineapple (2/5/2008 1:51:00 PM)

    I love the image of stars as a rung, a spiral staircase into the evening. The entire poem is clever and well-written. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Will Barber (8/3/2006 7:08:00 PM)

    Where, indeed, is the boundary between political, personal, and universal experience? This is a very beautiful translation, Agha Shahid Ali - and you are much to be commended for offering it. A moment of awareness of the present is, indeed, eternity. (Report) Reply

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