Come, climb the skies; above their blue vault make your resting place
Seek the beloved of both worlds to hold in your embrace
Who told you you must ask favours from the azure sky?
Be stern; confront the stars, and wrest from them your heart’s desire
Joy in the raging flood and, like the bridge’s image, dance
Know where you are, but move beyond the bounds of self, and dance
She will not keep her word – treasure the moment that she gives it
When lovely women pledge their word, rejoice in it, and dance
Delight in moving on. Why think about your destination?
Don’t measure progress; hear the summons of the bell, and dance
Once we were young and flourished like the flowers in the gardens
Come flames; now we are straw and thorns, devour us, and dance
In love you have not yet attained the limit of delight
Be like the whirlwind’s dust and rise into the air, and dance
Abandon all outworn norms so dear to our good friends
When they are celebrating, wail; when they are mourning, dance
The good are ‘angry’. Hypocrites ‘love’you. Don’t be like them
Don’t hide within yourself. Come out into the open. Dance!
Don’t look for grief in burning or for joy in flowering
In the hot wind’s embrace, and with the breeze of morning, dance!
Ghalib, rejoice that there is one in whose bonds you are tied
Flourish; welcome distress; and in the ties of bondage, dance
From The Seeing Eye: Selections from the Urdu and Persian Ghazals of Ghalib
(translation by Ralph Russell)