Death Poems

Mīr Dard

Translation:

My friends, we have seen enough of this play
We are going home, you can stay

 

Original:

دوستو، دیکها تماشا یاں کا بس
تُم رہو خوش ہم تو اپنے گھر چلے

 

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khwaja_Mir_Dard)

 

Kozan Ichikyo

Translation:

Empty-handed I entered this world
Barefoot I leave it
My coming and my going
two simple happenings
that got entangled

 

Original:

来時は空手、去時は赤脚。一去一来、単重交折

Raiji wa karate kyoji wa sekkyaku ikkyoichirai tanjuu sekkou

 

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_poem)

 

Mīrzā ‘abd al-Qādir Bīdil

Translation:

A mere waking between two slumbers, we are
The dust of dreams between mirages we are
From the crash of two waves, a bubble emerges
That is, a talisman written on water we are

 

Original:

بیدارئ میان دو خواب است هستیم
گرد تخیل دو سراب است هستیم
از لطمهٔ دو موج حبابی دمیده است
یعنی طلسم نقش بر آبست هستیم

 

 

Ibn al-Ḥaddād

Translation:

People are like bubbles
Time, depths beyond sounding
One world floats in foam
One world’s light is drowning

 

Original:

الناس مثل حباب         والدهر لجّة ماء
فعالَمٌ  في طفُوًّ       وعالَمٌ  في آنطفاء

 

(see https://mobile.twitter.com/ClassyArabic/status/1481605037646561284 for an alternate translation)

 

 

Mīr Taqī Mīr

 

My life is like a bubble
This world is like a mirage

 

Original:

ہستی اپنی حباب کی سی ہے
یہ نمائش سراب کی سی ہے
Hasti apni habab ki si hai
Yeh numaish ik saraab ki si hai

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spring and Fall

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

 

(From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44400/spring-and-fall)

 

Hafez

 

Translation:

Where’s the good news of union that from this life I rise?
I am a holy bird, from this world’s net I arise
And I swear by your love, that if you call me your slave
that up from the world’s sovereignty and rank I will arise
O Lord, from the cloud of your guidance, let rain fall
Before the time when, from the midst, dust-like I will arise
Sit beside my grave with a musician and with wine
So that with your scent dancing from the tomb I will arise
Rise and show your stature, O idol of sweet moves
So that from this life and world, dancing I arise
Although I’m old, hold me tight in your arms for one night
So that at morning light, young, from your embrace I’ll arise
On the day of my death, take a break to visit me
So that Hafez, from this life and this world, will arise

 

Original:

مژده وصل تو کو کز سر جان برخیزم
طایر قدسم و از دام جهان برخیزم
به ولای تو که گر بنده خویشم خوانی
از سر خواجگی کون و مکان برخیزم
یا رب از ابر هدایت برسان بارانی
پیشتر زان که چو گردی ز میان برخیزم
بر سر تربت من با می و مطرب بنشین
تا به بویت ز لحد رقص کنان برخیزم
خیز و بالا بنما ای بت شیرین حرکات
کز سر جان و جهان دست فشان برخیزم
گر چه پیرم تو شبی تنگ در آغوشم کش
تا سحرگه ز کنار تو جوان برخیزم
روز مرگم نفسی مهلت دیدار بده
تا چو حافظ ز سر جان و جهان برخیزم

 

Moriya Sen’an

Translation:

Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
With luck,
the cask will leak.

 

Original:

我死なば
酒屋の瓶の下にいけよ
もしや雫の
もりやせんなん
Ware shinaba
sakaya no kame no
shita ni ikeyo
moshi ya shizuku no
mori ya sen nan

 

(note the pun on the poet’s name “Moriya Sen’an” and the last line:
“with luck the cask will leak”—”mori ya sen nan”)

 

 

Hafez

 

Translation:

One whose heart has been revived by love can never die
Our everlastingness is engraved in the cosmic scroll

 

Original:

هرگز نمیرد آن که دلش زنده شد به عشق                ثبت است بر جریده عالم دوام ما

 

 

Translation:

When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!

 

Original:

بگشای تربتم را بعد از وفات و بنگر

کز آتش درونم دود از کفن برآید

 

Translation: Gertrude Bell

 

Me

Lips scalded by love’s tongues of flame
Can never taste death’s bitter pain

 

 

Macedonio Fernández-Creíyo Yo

Translation:

Love’s reach does not to everything extend, for
it cannot shake or break the stab of Death.
Yet little can Death take
if in a loving heart the fear of it subsides.
Nor can Death much take at all, for it cannot
drive its fear into the heart where Love resides.
That if Death rule over Life, Love over Death.

 

Original:

No a todo alcanza Amor, pues que no puede
romper el gajo con que Muerte toca.
Mas poco Muerte logra
si en corazón de Amor su miedo muere.
Mas poco Muerte logra, pues no puede
entrar su miedo en pecho donde Amor.
Que Muerte rige a Vida; Amor a Muerte.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cre%C3%ADa_yo)

Rumi

Translation:

When my bier moveth on the day of death
Think not my heart is in this world.
Do not weep for me and cry “woe, woe!”
Thou wilt fall in the devil’s snare: that is woe
When thou seest my hearse, cry not, “gone, gone!”
Union and meeting are mine in that hour
If thou commit me to the grave, say not “Farewell, farewell”
For the grave is a curtain hiding the communion of paradise
After beholding descent, consider resurrection
Why should setting be injurious to the sun and moon?
To thee it seems a setting, but ’tis a rising’
Tho’ the vault seems a prison, ’tis the release of a soul
What seed went down into the earth but it grew?
Why this doubt of thine as regards the seed of man?
What bucket was lowered but it came out brimful?
Why should the Joseph of the Spirit complain of the well?
Shut thy mouth on this side, and open it beyond
For in placeless air will by thy triumphal song.

(From R.A. Nicholson, Selected Poems form the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, p. 94-96)

 

Original:

به روز مرگ چو تابوت من روان باشد
گمان مبر که مرا درد این جهان باشد
برای من مگری و مگو دریغ دریغ
به دوغ دیو درافتی دریغ آن باشد
جنازه‌ام چو ببینی مگو فراق فراق
مرا وصال و ملاقات آن زمان باشد
مرا به گور سپاری مگو وداع وداع
که گور پرده جمعیت جنان باشد
فروشدن چو بدیدی برآمدن بنگر
غروب شمس و قمر را چرا زبان باشد
تو را غروب نماید ولی شروق بود
لحد چو حبس نماید خلاص جان باشد
کدام دانه فرورفت در زمین که نرست
چرا به دانه انسانت این گمان باشد
کدام دلو فرورفت و پر برون نامد
ز چاه یوسف جان را چرا فغان باشد
دهان چو بستی از این سوی آن طرف بگشا
که های هوی تو در جو لامکان باشد

 

Clare Harner

Do not stand
By my grave, and weep.
I am not there,
I do not sleep—
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.
Do not stand
By my grave, and cry—
I am not there,
I did not die.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Stand_at_My_Grave_and_Weep)

 

al-Ghazali

Translation:

Say unto brethren when they see me dead,
And weep for me, lamenting me in sadness:
“Think ye I am this corpse ye are to bury?
I swear by God, this dead one is not I.
I in the Spirit am, and this my body
My dwelling was, my garment for a time.
I am a treasure: hidden I was beneath
This talisman of dust, wherein I suffered.
I am a pearl; a shell imprisoned me,
But leaving it, all trials I have left.
I am a bird, and this was once my cage;
But I have flown, leaving it as a token.
I praise God who hath set me free,
and made For me a dwelling in the heavenly heights.
Ere now I was a dead man in your midst,
But I have come to life, and doffed my shroud.”

(Translation by Martin Lings)

 

Original:

قل لإخوان رأوني ميتا            فبكوني ورثوني حزنا
أتظنون بأني ميتكم           ليس هذا الميت والله أنا
أنا في الصور وهذا جسدي       كان لباسي وقميصي زمنا
أنا در قد حواني صدف         طرت عنه وبقى مرتهنا
أنا عصفور وهذا قفصي       كان سجني فتركت السجنا
أشكر الله الذي خلصني        وبنا لي في المعالي وطنا
كنت قبل اليوم ميتا بينكم            فحييت وخلعت الكفنا

 

 

Zheng Ting

Translation:

Illusion appears, illusion ceases
The biggest illusion among all is our body
Once a pacified heart finds its place
There’s no such body to look for

 

Original:

幻生還幻滅
大幻莫過身
安心自有處
求人無有人

 

John Donne-“Death, Be Not Proud”

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.