Translated from Urdu by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
In the profusely green hills spread from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s mausoleum to Pierre Loti Point, one sees many white tombstones. It is perhaps the world’s prettiest cemetery. From here, the cerulean beauty of the Bosphorus and the city of Istanbul appear even more captivating. The occasional olive tree planted between the juniper, Tabrizi, cypress, deal-wood, Sekran, and aspen; the carefully grown flowering plants, along with their wild cousins; the minimalist inscriptions on the commemorative stones. Just the name, the year of birth, and the year of death. How would this marker seem here?
Afzal Ahmed Syed
But in the face of annihilation, inscribing even this much is a transgression. Let us strike it out:
Afzal Ahmed Syed
~ Afzal Ahmed Syed
Afzal Ahmed Syed’s selected poetry Rococo and Other Worlds was published in Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s translation by the Wesleyan University Press Poetry Series in 2010. His collected poetry in translation will be published by Yoda Press in 2013-2014. He has translated works by a number of Eastern European poets, as well as Gabriel García Marquez, Jean Genet, William Saroyan, and Jonathan Treitel. Find out more about Syed here.
Translator’s Bio: Musharraf Ali Farooqi is a critically-acclaimed author, novelist and translator. His recent works include the novels “Between Clay and Dust”, “The Story of a Widow”, an illustrated book “Rabbit Rap: A Fable for the 21st Century”, and the translations of Indo-Islamic epics “The Adventures of Amir Hamza” and “Hoshruba”. More information about the author is available on his website.
Featured Artwork: “Lady of the Castle by Strooitje” by Joeri Von Royen.