Please bring a token home from each journey by Noshi Gillani
Noshi Gillani's lineation is such that it is hard to tell whether a line refers back to the one before or on to the one below. She tends to write in phrases, or brief observations, which stand alone on a line (at the most two lines) and which sit alongside rather than connect to what surrounds them. With different grammatical conventions and alphabets, I had no punctuation to guide me so had to work all the more on what made sense of what.
For example, the following lines from the literal version:
there is no lamp, no skill
in search for a path
my watery eyes bleed
in account of my difficulties
I needed to know which line followed which: if there was no lamp or skill in the search for a path, or if the search for a path made the eyes bleed or both? These were hard questions for Nukhbah to answer as it was not often evident in the original, but by pursuing their meaning and associations, I managed to grasp the overall movement of the poem and so bring it into coherence in English.
I have neither a lamp nor the ability
to search for a way ahead
this is all so difficult
such strain that my eyes
weep not tears but blood
I also tried to retain the discrete nature of each line and where possible to allow them to stand alongside one another as described rather than connect them up.