The Scissors of the Day (English translation)

I met in the valley of Shimsal
A man who was having tea with a ghost
I left my soul to him
And I went to bathe in the icy water of a lake

How many passes must I cross
Before you give me back my courage?
The snow falls on the asphalt road
The trucks spin like shooting stars

And the Karakorum High Way
Gives shelter to cold travelers
1300 kilometers of danger
To Chinese Turkestan

This road is the eighth wonder of the world
For the people of the Gilgit region,
And your icy moral
Makes the stars burn

And the snow falls in disorderly streams
On the ocean of my consciousness
The poet Khalifa Malang Jan
Has published poems for his beloved

My eyno (mirror) reflects only my shadow
A fallen farishta (angel) sat down to read my poem
I offered him a gulab (rose) of light
I hear him hayjok (laughter) in the dark

My love the qatchi (scissors) of the day
Have not yet cut through this long silent night
Until when do you keep my heart prisoner?
Will you give it back to me one day in this forest of verses?

You who drew a circle of fire ajib han (strange)
In the middle of the snowy expanses
I came to ask you to give me back my freedom
You see the birds also take cold

Ani mey kaghazat han (here are my papers)
Let me run away to the Karakorum. Let me die of love,
Let me become one with the mountain
Deliver my soul from this spell you have cast upon it

Poetry is a message of farewell,
It is the only good I have to declare
I stood like a nightingale on the edge of the cliff of existence
Until you offered me the hot tea of your gaze

Ani mey jola han (here is my luggage)
I take my past with me to the mountain
Only the memory of your breath on my face
And the scent of your burning body

My eyes still clouded with fatigue
I woke up this morning
My window overlooks the ocean
I talked to a ghost all night

And the mountain tops
Cut out like shadows
On my white muslin curtains
Where does this cold come from in the middle of summer?

Aik tarfi (one way) to Pakistan
I light the fire on the mountain again
My closed eyes imprison a dream
The moon cradles my sleep

The young boys practice shap
(theatrical play practiced in the mountain villages of Gilgit Baltistan)

An old man complains about his daughter
The festival is in full swing in the mountains
The corpse of a bird decomposes

I let my eagle fly over us
He came back to cling to my naked wrist
Poetry is a brave bird
That flies through our faded smiles

I won Shandur Gilgit’s polo match
Our cries have been heard from Iran to Chitral
But the victory on my horse
I would have give it up for five minutes near you

By the fruit of a juniper tree
My lips are red like the hibiscus moon
A radio loosens the language of poets
In shina and balti

The Saday-e-Gilgit newspaper
Printed our history, traveler
I ran through the poetic peaks
Hoping to make you smile

I may pray, I may swim in ink
I lost control of my heart
You were the light of this poetry
I tell you this before I leave for the mountain

The ocean splashed on my eyelids
I swam all afternoon
The sunset took the shape of the Karakorum
And made up my oiled body

Traveler, should I climb the Nanga Parbat
Or become the best poet in this city?
To hope to spend a moment with you,
Are you not afraid for me?

Avalanches are frequent
61 deaths haunt this steep reality
And the eagles will be of no help to me
A word from you is enough

Give me back my soul, I’m going to the mountain
I will be the likhare aik (writer) of these peaks
Only one man made me desire the snow
It still burns my eyelids

Let my heart sink on the path
I will climb the peaks of poetry
To attract the attention of a farishta (angel)
A qafla (caravan) takes me away

And if you change your mind
Meet me in this hotaley kamra (hotel room)
I’ve just come back from a swim in the ocean
It seemed to me that the water was frozen

In this avalanche that took my heart away
My pen spilled ink on the snow
I begged the mountain to let me go
That mountain who haunts the souls of climbers

The snowy peaks make a necklace of light
To the sky hesitating between gold and purple
And your ghost crosses the night
In this prison of frozen ink

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