Ocean Eyes

Suddenly the mind remembers this fantastic poem. By Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Teri Samundar Ankhon Mein

Yah dhup kinara shaam dhalen,
Milte hain dono waqt jahan,
Jo raat na din, jo aaj na kal,
pal bhar ko amar, pal bhar mein dhuaan
Is dhup kinaare pal do pal.
Hothon ki lapak
Baahon ki khanak
Yah mel hamaara jhooth na sach
Kyon raar karen, kyon dosh dharen
kis kaaran jhoothi baat karen
Jab teri samandar aankhon mein
Is shaam ka suraj dubega
Sukh soyenge ghar dar waale
Aur rahi apni rah lega.

And a translation by Bilal Tanweer (pdf)

When in Your Ocean Eyes

This shore of sunlight on
The slopes of evening,
This meeting of times:
Not day or night
Not today or tomorrow
In a moment eternal, in a moment fume

Moments on this shore of light
The spark of lips
The clink of arms
Our intimacies,
Not lies, not truths

Why should I secret this, why should I blame?
For what should I lie:

When in your ocean eyes
This evening’s sun shall set

The home shall find its sleep
And the traveler will walk his way

16 Comments

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16 Responses to Ocean Eyes

  1. Falstaff

    Aarrghh!! Bad, bad, BAD translation!

  2. Lakshmi

    Honton ki lapak, baahon ki khanak
    Yeh mel hamaara jhooth na sach
    Kyon raar karen, kyon dosh dharen
    kis kaaran jhooti baat karen

    The sheer music as the syllables roll out is lost in translation : )

  3. Thanks for putting this up, I loved it.

    J.A.P.

  4. Beautiful, and such a balm for the soul. Thanks for sharing this. How I wish I understood Urdu!

  5. More proof that poetry when translated loses its soul somewhat :-(

  6. km

    Awesome. Thanks for posting this, Neha.

    //”Pal bhar ko amar, pal bhar mein dhuaan”. Shivers.

  7. Uff. What drama! :) Yes, it’s a rather watery translation… fancy trying your hand at it Falsieji?

  8. Really, the translation is rather inadequate. But if Urdu isn’t known – what can one do? Maybe I should have a translating competition.

  9. It is hardly Urdu. :-) At best it is colloquial Hindi or Hindustani.

  10. Neha, please delete this comment but on pressing ‘Submit comment’ why does the message say ‘please wait a comment’???

  11. whistleblower

    Falstaff has his own version, which I really like for its freshness.
    First I was tempted to mix the two (Falstaff’s and Neha’s) and keep the parts I like from both, and depart where I like neither.

    So I came up with this

    This shore of sunlight where evening sets,
    vertex of the twins of time –
    not day nor night, not today nor ‘morrow –
    eternal instant, in a flash sublimes.
    Moments on this shore of light,
    the leaping lips,
    the clink of arms,
    our togetherness not false nor true.
    Why muffle it? Why talk of blame?
    Why indulge in trifling games?
    When this evening’s sun shall set
    in your ocean eyes
    and the households sleep content
    the wanderlust shall wave goodbye.

    Then the version by Bilal was looked at, which I copy-and-paste using the given pdf-link, for those lazy/without a fast network connection. (I hope this is not a violation of any copyright laws in which case the comment may please be removed).

    This shore of sunlight on
    The slopes of evening,
    This meeting of times:
    Not day or night
    Not today or tomorrow
    In a moment eternal, in a moment fume
    Moments on this shore of light
    The spark of lips
    The clink of arms
    Our intimacies,
    Not lies, not truths
    Why should I secret this, why should I blame?
    For what should I lie:
    When in your ocean eyes
    This evening’s sun shall set
    The home shall find its sleep
    And the traveler will walk his way

    -Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Translation by Bilal Tanweer)

    It seems everyone is basically using the same words…
    More proof of the vagaries of translation.

  12. whistleblower

    Ok. Hang me now!

  13. This brings back old memories. I remembered translating this poem way back when on a spur.

    —–beging xlation————–

    As the evening descends over the banks of the sunny heat
    Where the two moments of the time mingle
    Neither the night nor the day, neither today nor tomorrow
    Everlasting a moment, up in smoke the next
    These showers of sunlight, but for just a moment or two
    These quivers of lips
    These jingles of arms
    This union of ours, may it be a lie or a truth
    Need we cause a fray, need we hurl a blame?
    For what reason, need we speak in falsities?
    When in the oceans of your eyes
    This evening’s sun plunges
    Lords and the people will sleep with contentment
    And the sojourner resumes his journey

    ——end xlation——
    Regards, Crazyfinger

  14. The original is lovely. As spirited the translations are, they just don’t do it justice.

    Thank you for posting this.

  15. Beautiful poem truer words have never been spoken. I love all poetry but since I live in ocean city I especially like water and shore related one.

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