This is how my sorrow became visible: its dust, piling up for years in my heart, finally reached my eyes, the bitterness now so clear that I had to listen when my friends told me to wash my eyes with blood. Everything at once was tangled in blood— each face, each idol, red everywhere. Blood swept over the sun, washing away its gold. The moon erupted with blood, its silver extinguished. The sky promised a morning of blood, and the night wept only blood. The trees hardened into crimson pillars. All flowers filled their eyes with blood. And every glance was an arrow, each pierced image blood. This blood —a river crying out for martyrs— flows on in longing. And in sorrow, in rage, in love. Let it flow. Should it be dammed up, there will only be hatred cloaked in colors of death. Don't let this happen, my friends, bring all my tears back instead, a flood to purify my dust-filled eyes, to was this blood forever from my eyes.
From The Rebel's Silhouette by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by Agha Shahid Ali. Copyright © 1991 by Agha Shahid Ali. Used by permission of University of Massachusetts Press.