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Shiv Kumar Batalvi

(23 July 1936 - 7 May 1973 / Punjab / British India)

A Borrowed Song


Give me, O Lord
A few more songs.
My fire is dying,
Give me a spark.
At a very young age
I exhausted every sorrow.
For my youth
Give me a fresh pain.

Give me a song, like youth itself,
Beautiful, magical.
Like the redness of a rising day
That sparkles in a brimming lake.
Like the first star of the evening
That shines in a treeless desert.

Night is approaching my desert,
Give me a star or two,
Or let me sink, like the evening redness,
Into the brimming lake.

Lord, life is unbearable without a companion,
Unbearable without a song.
We all know that life has to be lived,
That pain has been sewn into it.
Do the deer drink the water
At every shore?
Let the water at my shore
Be washed away, undrunk.
Or take back the songs
That you let me write.

Lord, we should never extol beauty
Which is empty of fire,
Nor praise those eyes
Whose tears lack salt.
We should not sing a song bereft of pain,
Or write a word devoid of fragrance.
If my words are without fragrance
Tear them from the branch,
Or give me another song,
Like youth itself.

At a very young age
I exhausted every sorrow.
For my youth
Give me a fresh pain.

Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012

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