In the Bowl of this World
by Rifat Abbas
In the bowl of this world
Look at the rose of our passion, my friend
Even if we don't eat together
Even if we don't sit together
We can at least dream together, my friend
Even if we don't drink together
Even if we are strangers
Let us consider the colour of our wine, my friend
The sun is setting on the lanes
The river is almost at my door
Let us examine our restless hearts, my friend
The literal translation of this poem was made by Nukhbah Langah
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop
The form of the poem, Kafi, was first introduced by the great Siraiki Sufi poet Khwaja Ghulam Farid (1841-1901). It's a beautiful poetic form that embodies romance along with spirituality. However, here I don't see either.
In the original poem, the three triplets have rhyming words in the first two lines whereas the last line ends with Mian, a term that's often used to address a close friend.
At first, we decided to use 'Kafi' as the title because as it's simply the name of the poetic form, like ghazal or sonnet. However, the original has no title and this poem comes from a book of poems written in the Kafi form so, to distinguish it from the others, we used the first line as the title.
After much discussion, we agreed that, rather than leave 'mian' as it stood, the simplest way of translating the word into English was as 'my friend'. We felt that this was less obtrusive - as well as being close to the original meaning.
We all agreed that this was a very tender and delicate poem that we were pleased to translate.
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2014