Culture & Society

Four Ghazals By Ammar Aziz

Ammar Aziz writes four English ghazals for Outlook.

Photo: Getty Images


In my absence I knew myself
I saw you but walked through myself

I thought of life and death and god
From the mountain I threw myself

That canvas was not always blank
It was not then I drew myself

A crowd gathers to see me dead
I'm waiting in the queue myself

I cut the peepal from my wall
And through the wall I grew myself

I run madly on sacred paths
And then I bump into myself

I break into several pieces
I pick a part and chew myself

Your intimacy makes me think:
I wish I could undo myself

Some shadows seeking solitude
Entered me when I slew myself

I see a boy drowning, Ammar
Each night I run, rescue myself


This ghazal has refrain: naked
She'll have to now remain naked

I was the sanest in my town
You're turning me insane naked

Our souls were always so distant
We were lying in vain naked

I changed my mind, I almost left
And then you got again naked

I thought my clothes were drenched in mud
But then I saw the stain naked

This is the matter of my soul
I'll self-inflict the pain naked

I was not dressed for after-life
I chose the track of train naked

Cages of rhymes were all veiled up
They left birds of refrain naked


I hear a sigh every moment 
I wonder why every moment 

Love brings us into life's embrace 
In love we die every moment

Lonely folks who dwell in the dark 
Look at the sky every moment

Why should I not end my life now? 
I justify every moment 

Every moment I change my mind
I bid goodbye every moment

Shameless whore that is existence 
I would deny every moment 

Nightingale of our nothingness 
Would like to fly every moment

I was born in a martyrs' tribe 
We have to cry every moment 

What can you do, it's certain life
Passes you by every moment

A path exists, but not for us
Why must we try every moment?

Cursed drinker, Ammar, that is you
You shall be dry every moment


Let's strip the cloak of godlessness 
And breathe the smoke of godlessness

This night the newborns laughed with glee
They heard the joke of godlessness 

The fertile land of god was grand
There grew an oak of godlessness

I found my god in springing leaves
Once fell, they spoke of godlessness

I threw the albumen of hope
And ate the yolk of godlessness

My faith had ceased to give a high
I sniffed the coke of godlessness

All men who fought for faiths and all
They were kinfolk of godlessness

Once god had read the books he sent
He had a stroke of godlessness

Ammar I'll pray though Earth is all
Shrouded in smoke of godlessness