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CrickRock Webrings
Rambling on: Only the good die young

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Only the good die young

Sepoy mentioned Aga Shahid Ali and I do not have the privilege of reading his translations of Faiz. I do know of his work that is online. I used to keep my fingers crossed that more of his stuff would be posted online. It was sad to lose him in the prime of his life as he lost this battle with cancer about three years ago. This guy was also an avid Begum Akhtar fan like myself.

The following is a sample of his work that I saved some time back.

The Wolf's Postcript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'
Agha Shahid Ali

First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn't wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn't speak to strangers.

And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn't I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn't know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman lived there
all alone?
As if I couldn't have swallowed her years before?

And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you'll agree she was pretty.

And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.


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