Najam Hosain Syed: Night a Burning Oven. Muslim poetry about desire and the body!

Night a Burning Oven

Throw your hand in and place the dough
Many were cooked over flat pans
Eyes were singed lighting damp wood
Now wear the coal of this heat in your eyes
Raise your arms and dance in it
Red wheat has sprouted during the course of time Night a burning oven
Throw your hand in and place the dough
Lay your virtues on the table
Serve yourself and feed yourself
Who knows when the day will rise, how it will rise
Whoever beheld the daybreak
Will not return to tell

Translated by Zubair Ahmad and Fauzia Rafiq

Click to access 13.1.2_Ahmad.pdf

“Najm Hosain Syed is the most significant Punjabi writer of post-Partition West Punjabi literature. He was born in 1936 in Batala eastern Punjab. After Partition in 1947, his family had to move to Lahore in Pakistan. He did his masters in English literature from Punjab University and joined Pakistan civil service and retired as Accountant General of Punjab.

He founded the Punjabi Sangat -literary study group- and the Majlis Shah Hussain -a publishing venture- in the early 1970s. During the time he also headed the post-graduate Department of Punjabi in Punjab University. He has authored more than 30 books of poetry, plays and creative non-fiction. “

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