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Poetry

Waiting for Godot by Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in 1938. He is ranked amongst the proponents of modern Balochi literature. His poetry reflects the objective realities of life. Love for motherland, peace and prosperity and dignity of a man are the recurrent themes of his poetry. His love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural frontiers. Barakzai is not a prolific poet. In a literary career which spans over half a century, Barakzai has managed to bring out just two anthologies of his poems, but his poetry has depth and reaches out to human hearts with its profundity. Last year, Barakzai rejected the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) award, quoting  the oppressive policies meted out to his region by the government as the reason.

Waiting For Godot. Courtesy: Creative Commons
Waiting for Godot

Arise! O friends from this deep slumber
Godot will not, will never show up

Godot is the  prophet of slumberous wakefulness
He's a messenger with a black scripture to misguide
the ignorant, halfwits and simpletons

O friends and pals! In your hearts and mind
and in every bone and vein of your body
The poison of slumberous wakefulness
Sprouted into toxic mushrooms
Pray tell me why do you want to waste yourselves
Why  do you want to rob your mind of wisdom and reason

O friends! Much desired is the dark tunnel of death
Than the curse of slumberous consciousness
Either sleep eternally like a rock
Or like the sea stay awake for evermore
Either imbibe the poisonous chalice of death
Or reap the treasured harvest of life

The poison of slumberous wakefulness is evermore feared
Than the murderer's deadly sword
The murderer's sword puts an instant end to life
Liberates one from all worries and woes
The curse of slumberous wakefulness
Neither lets you die in peace
Nor breathe in life's gentle breeze


Dear friends and comrades rest assured
Godot will not, will never show up
Setting our eyes on Godot's trail
We shall surely lose our vision
And the wealth of wisdom
We shall squander away forever

Arise my pals and companions
Pray cast off the snare of death
Liberate yourselves
From this slumberous consciousness
Set your brilliant minds free
From the fetters of indolence
For the hope of a mirthful spring
Together with your mates
Gulp down the potent liquor of death

O friends and comrades!
Betray not yourselves any more
Godot will not, will never show up

Fazal Baloch is a Balochi writer and translator. He has translated many Balochi poems and short stories into English. His translations have been featured in Pakistani Literature published by Pakistan Academy of Letters and in the form of books and anthologies. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights to Barakzai’s works and is in the process of bringing them out as a book.

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