Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Tribute to the Rosenbergs

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted on espionage charges and executed by the US government in 1953 amidst the McCarthy era repression of voices against the Cold War. The historic trial drew condemnation and appeals from around the world and intellectuals W.E.B. Du Bois, Albert Einstein and Jean-Paul Sartre. Faiz Ahmed Faiz paid his tributes to the Rosenbergs through a poem, where he insists on the necessity of standing for the truth at all costs, for the future rests on it. "Its because of them [tomorrow's children] that we went out to make the world our own, we who were murdered in the darkest lanes." See more

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Source

Hum Jo Tarik Rahon Mein Mare Gaye

Tere honthon ke phulon ki chahat mein hum

Daar ki khushk tahnii pe vaare gaye

Tere haathon ki shamon ki hasrat mein hum

Nim-tarik rahon mein mare gaye

Suliyon par hamare labon se pare

Tere honthon ki laali lapakti rahi

Teri zulfon ki masti barasti rahi

Tere haathon ki chandi damakti rahi

Jab ghuli teri rahon mein sham-e-sitam

Hum chale aye laye jahan tak kadam

Lab pe harf-e-ghazal dil mein qindil-e-gham

Apna gham tha gavahi tere husn ki

Dekh qayem rahe is gavahi pe hum

Hum jo tarik rahon mein mare gaye

Na-rasai agar apni taqdir thi

Teri ulfat toh apni hi tabdir thi

Kis ko shikva hai gar shauq ke silsile

Hijr ki qatil-gahon se sab ja mile

Quatil-gahon se chun kar hamare alam

Aur niklenge ushshaq ke quafile

Jin ki rah-e-talab se hamare kadam

Mukhtasar kar chale dard ke fasle

Kar chale jin ki khatir jahangir hum

Jaan ganva kar teri dilbari ka bharam

Hum jo tarik rahon mein mare gaye

We Who Were Executed

Translation by Agha Shahid Ali

I longed for your lips, dreamed of their roses:

I was hanged from the dry branch of the scaffold.

I wanted to touch your hands, their silver light:

I was murdered in the half-light of their dim lanes.

And there where you were crucified,

so far away from my words,

you still were beautiful:

color kept clinging to your lips-

rapture was still vivid in your hair-

light remained silvering in your hands.

When the night of cruelty merged with the roads you had taken,

I came as far as my feet could bring me,

on my lips the phrase of a song,

my heart lit up only by sorrow.

This sorrow was my testimony to your beauty-

Look ! I remained a witness till the end,

I who was killed in the darkest lanes.

Its true - that not to reach you was fate-

but who'll deny that to love you

was entirely in my hands ?

So why complain if these matters of desire

brought me inevitably to the execution grounds ?

Why complain ? Holding up our sorrows as banners,

new lovers will emerge

from the lanes where we were killed

and embark, in caravans, on those highways of desire.

Its because of them that we shortened the distances of sorrow,

its because of them that we went out to make the world our own,

we who were murdered in the darkest lanes.