Allama Muhammad Iqbal

(9 November 1877 - 21 April 1938 / Sialkot / British India)

Mu'tamid's Lament In Prison


In my breast,
A wail of grief,
Without any spark or flash,
Alone survives,
Passionless, ineffectual.
A free man is in prison today,
Without a spear or a sword;
Regret overwhelms me
And also my strategy.
My heart
Is drawn by instinct to chains.
Perhaps my sword was of the same steel.
Once I had a two-edged sword-
It turned into the chains that shackle me now.
How whimsical and indifferent
Is the Author of fates.

[Translated by Mustansir Mir]

Note: Mu‘tamid was the king of Seville and an
Arabic poet. He was defeated and
imprisoned by a ruler of Spain. Mu‘tamid's
poems have been translated into English
and published in the Wisdom of the East
series.

Submitted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Edited: Friday, March 16, 2012

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