×
Home Companies Industry Politics Money Opinion LoungeMultimedia Science Education Sports TechnologyConsumerSpecialsMint on Sunday
×

The acacia’s shade

The acacia’s shade
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Fri, Dec 16 2011. 09 11 PM IST

Rococo and Other Worlds: By Afzal Ahmed Syed, Translated from the Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Wesleyan University Press, 108 pages, $22.95 (around Rs1,190).
Rococo and Other Worlds: By Afzal Ahmed Syed, Translated from the Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Wesleyan University Press, 108 pages, $22.95 (around Rs1,190).
Updated: Fri, Dec 16 2011. 09 11 PM IST
Born in Ghazipur in 1946, trained as an entomologist and now resident in Karachi, the reclusive poet Afzal Ahmed Syed is a master of the classical and contemporary Urdu poetic forms. His translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi calls him “the best Urdu poet of his generation”.
The poems in Rococo and Other Worlds explore the myths and realities of South Asia and West Asia. “Their bold imagery creates narratives of voluptuous perfection, which remain inseparable from the political realities that Syed witnessed as a young observer of the violent separation of East Pakistan and emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 and of the Lebanese civil war in 1976,” Farooqi writes.
Our National Tree
Instead of the white jasmine
we proclaim the acacia as our national tree
It does not line the campuses of US colleges
is nowhere to be found in tropical gardens
remains untouched by the ikebana practitioners
Biologists do not classify acacia as a tree
because it does not support hangings
Acacia is the shrub
with which our cities, our deserts
and our poetry is replete
We are much taken with
the spinous acacia
that kept our soil from being washed away into the Arabian Sea.
Rococo and Other Worlds: By Afzal Ahmed Syed, Translated from the Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, Wesleyan University Press, 108 pages, $22.95 (around Rs1,190).
Rococo and Other Worlds
Elias Canetti maintains
Goya was a partisan
The one who made the Maja Nude
the Maja Clothed, and
the Majas on a Balcony
His Rococo world disappeared
in Third of May in a dark Madrid alley
He became oblivious
that parasol carriers had adorned his canvas and his bed
The source of light
in his canvas is a floor lantern
troops whose faces remain hidden
discharge fire on unresisting civilians
everyone resolves death in his own manner
the white shirt has his chest thrust out
in defiance
Successive generations of painters
shall revisit the theme
The subject of his last oil
the Milkmaid of Bordeaux
would have been claimed by some revolution
In the passing it may be mentioned
Goya sided against Napoleon
with the people of Spain
Musharraf Ali Farooqi is an author and translator.
Write to lounge@livemint.com
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Fri, Dec 16 2011. 09 11 PM IST