Shiv Kumar Batalvi

(23 July 1936 - 7 May 1973 / Punjab / British India)

Why Ask - Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi


Why ask about the condition of fakirs like us?
We are water, separated from its river,
Emerged from a tear,
Melancholy, distressed.

Of course I knew that a painting is just
A whimsy of colors-
But when I entered the emporium of love,
I paid a price.

Countless bodies did I find,
But not one mind did I meet.
This was written in my fate,
In the four lines of my palm.

My destiny was my rival.
I could never find a way to escape it.
I did not leave Jhang, I did not pierce my ears,
And a crowd of Heers crossed my path.

People listen to my songs,
But call me a heretic,
Because I named pain my kaaba,
And sorrow, my god.

On occasion, in gatherings of great people
I have spoken sharply.
Perhaps I was arrogant about my love,
Perhaps I felt I had a claim upon pain.

You call yourself a wise man,
I say I am a lover.
Let us leave it to the people to decide
To whom they will give the esteem of a pir.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012

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