Annual of Urdu Studies, v. 4, 1984 p. 75.

Graphics file for this page
Kishwar Naheed


Translated by C. M. Nairn


These hands,

now covered with veins that tell of autumn's approach,

they used to throb with heat

like the fish in a fisherman's net.

These hands never rose to supplicate;

they never begged, were never shamed.

They showed desires the path to take,

then ambushed them.

Their every knuckle's been crushed

by work,

and every nail

mirrors ugliness.

These hands foreshadow my beautiful days

that now begin.


Scared birds, hiding in corners,

why do you fear so our trembling hands?

You lost your freedom innocently;

you were caught in a net you never saw.

But we've ourselves cut our tongues,

and now, cloaked in public approval, prostrate ourselves,

sing hymns of joy.

Scared birds, hiding in corners,

you came to glean, to earn your 'daily bread.'

This wish to earn one's 'daily bread'


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