Treasure Island

Sahir Ludhianvi

(8 March 1921 - 25 October 1980 / Faisalabad, Punjab / India)

Brothels


These lanes, these marts of rich delights,
Precious lives, undone, defiled;
Where are the defenders of virtuous pride?
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

These sinuous streets, these doors ajar,
The clinking coins, the moving masks,
Deals of honour, hagglings fast,
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

These dimly-lighted, stinking streets,
These yellowing buds, crushed and ceased,
These hollow charms, for sale and lease;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

The jingling trinklets at casement bright,
Tambourins athrob' mid gasping life;
Cheerless rooms with cough alive;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

Boisterous laughs on public paths,
Crowds at windows, thick and fast,
Vulgar words, obscene remarks;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

The betel spittal, the floral wreaths,
Audacious looks and filthy speech,
Flaccid figures, looks diseased;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

Lecherous eyes in beauty's quest,
Extended hands chasing breasts,
Springing feet on stairs pressed;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

This is the haven of young and old.
Aging sires and youngsters bold,
Wife, mother and sister — she plays a triple role.
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

Help, O Help, this daughter of Eve!
Radha's child, Yashoda's breed;
The prophet's race, Zuleikha's seed;
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

Call, O call the leaders wise
Let them see these streets, these sights,
Where are the champs of eastern pride?
Where are they who praise, the pious eastern ways?

Submitted: Friday, April 13, 2012

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