Ghazal to my Other Tongues
Not my mother, nor my heart, Angrez.
Just the muffled medium of my art, Angrez.
You, child of stubborn parents, you migrant:
If they ask, don’t confess. Say you’re part Angrez.
Nana says: to fight in languages not ours is be-wakoof!
What vocabularies can justify this lent Angrez?
Where the histories begin and time, even patriots will forgive.
For all who’s rich and destined smart’s Angrez.
What’s your luck? You, who meant “to mark this world”
Cannot shake this word, must depart Angrez.
O modulated Persian, daughter of Arabic, اردو
Sister of Kashmiri, Punjabi and Pashto, اردو
O mirror, who flirts like a thief and lies like a poet,
Who treks across mountains only to announce itself in war: اردو
O nomad of Delhi, mongrel of the north,
Eavesdropper on the local rail from Lucknow to Lahore, اردو
O Hindustani and Afghani, O Pakistani,
O curly-haired worshipper, who writes of God in gold: اردو
O Shayri, O Ghazal, O wandering Nazm –
Give me a voice to translate; a throat to restore اردو
ANKITA SAXENA is a British-Indian poet and performer based in London. She is a member of the Octavia poetry collective for womxn of colour, Apples and Snakes Writing Room and a former Barbican Young Poet. Find her @ankitawrites on Twitter and @ankita___writes on Instagram.