My old friend,
How is the world of sight and sound?
Pain and passion; quest and yearning.
Thou never talkest of anything but the heavens.
Is there no cure for thy constant pain?
Thou knowest not, alas, the secret of my pain!
The loss I have suffered, has increased my passion more-,
How silent is this world; desolate and wild!
I cannot ever live here; I cannot!
For one whose despair throbs in the heart of the universe,
What is better-despair, or hope?
By thy refusal thou hast lost thy place in heaven—
And disgraced the angels in the eyes of the Lord.
My courage gave a speck of dust the impulse to grow;
My cunning is the fabric of man’s intellect.
Thou watchest the war of good and evil, safely ashore,
And who is battered by the storm-thou or I?
Ask God, if thou hast the time to ask:
Whose blood gave colour to Adam’s inglorious tale?
I am a thorn in the Almighty’s mighty heart,
And thou but mumblest His praise day and night.
-from Iqbal, Bal-i-Jibril, (Gabriel's Wing), transl. by Naeem Siddiqui. At http://www.allamaiqbal.com