Zeeshan Sahil – a few poems

 by Raza Rumi

I just learnt through an email by Ajmal Kamal that the eminent poet Zeeshan Sahil is no more. What could be a better way of remembering him than reading his poetry. I found a translation of his poem A Poem For You here

 A Poem for You

The world is the wrong place to live
if one had to live forever.
Each day life
would become more unbearable.
But the happiness of traveling on the bus
with Saiduddin,
and the melting wax from the burning candle
on your dressing table,
and the smoke collecting on your mirror
make up for everything.
The flowers pressed in my book
grow in to jungle dreams.
Your fingers trace many different paths
in the dust on the Formica.
And in the city with many blank street signs
when the night becomes darker,
your uneasy presence makes
the stars unnecessary, the moon redundant,
and the sea superfluous.
Your memory and the mounting pressure around my
make me pray.
Despite the eternal anger of God toward poets,
my prayer always begins with you.

Translated by Raza Ali Hasan and Christopher Kennedy

More poems here; but I am also posting another one entitled Bookworms below.


They do not

take long to go

from one poem to the next.

The river—

if it be written over somewhere

and there be no bridge thereafter—but

no one can stop them.


they get to the last leaf


with the names of evergreen flowers.

If the writer of our poems

in some story

meets his beloved

the last time,

or sees her in some play

for the first time,

it does not take them long

to chew up the curtain,

finish off the love.

—Translated by Alamgir Hashmi



Filed under Pakistan, poetry

8 responses to “Zeeshan Sahil – a few poems

  1. It is difficult to put my feeling of loss into words. Thank you for the post, Raza.

  2. azuluna

    beautiful both..thank you

  3. inna lillahe wa inna ilehe rajeoon.

  4. is it appropriate to say of a man who’s receently passed away, “i knew him once”?

    well i did, almost twenty years ago, shortly after i got married, shortly before my voluntary exile from the land of my birth. zeeshan was a good friend of my good friend mansoor mani. mani, my brother risha, and my wife and i shared a flat, and zeeshan would occasionally come over to see mani, even though our flat was on the first floor. i later learnt that he had moved to the states, though i believe he came back not long afterwards.

    i remember zeeshan as being a soft-spoken and warm person. he had a mischievous smile, and his eyes were always searching, searching. i still have my signed copy of his first collection of poetry, though i must admit i haven’t read it in a while.

    zeeshan, wherever you are, i hope you’re smiling.

  5. Pingback: The Second Floor » Zeeshan Sahil

  6. tariq rais froughe

    very upset to hear from Ahmed Hamdani, the sad demise of an innocent, lovely, soft spoken and brilliant poet, zeeshan sahil. I pray from the deep of my hear, may Allah rest his soul in peace, Ameen, Tariq Rais froughe

  7. i am shocked to hear this news. he was a great poet. always committed to the people on the margins. i remember his poems on karachi, email and general’s nose etc. it is a big loss for sub continent’s poetry.
    Geet Chaturvedi,
    Jalandhar, India.

  8. Syed Ali Raza

    I remember he used to narrate some old stories from the Whiskerton tales and used to translate every single for me and my sister… i wonder why he never got frustrated? why he never got tired of reading the same story 5 times every night? I miss u chachu…