.. Of ‘Bait bazi’ of Life

And we sat one last time.
Face to face,
in the ‘Mehfil’ of Life.
You, drunk;
from the red chalices
of your many lovers.
And I,
by the hemlock
of death’s black kiss.
In your presence
candles burned..
moths burned..
.. I burned too.
Verse after verse,
I read out to you.

in my delirium to learn about you,
I had byhearted
the alphabet of God,
.. and made dictionaries out of you!
Time moved slowly —
night passed..
dreams passed..
.. we passed too.
Verse after verse,
I won from you.
Until the final turn came unto you!
And I missed….
I missed out on the letter L,
which you plunged to grab
like an eagle;
nearly singing out your winning word —
” L I F E !”
..   s o k o o t   ..


And I?
I sat with my lips pursed tight.
Rolling beneath my tongue my words —
“Loneliness..    Longing..    Love..”
Brava, my love, my fine Poet!
You rhymed well.
You chose well.
After all, in the final Baithbazi of our Life,
You have finally won!
You have finally won!
~ IZ ~


* Bait Bazi – an Urdu verbal game of reciting poetry by two opponents, in which the last letter of the last verse is given to the opponent to begin his next verse with.

* Mehfil – evenings of courtly entertainment, especially where poetry or classical music is performed in an intimate setting for a small audience. 

* Sokoot – silence in Farsi / Persian 

11 thoughts on “.. Of ‘Bait bazi’ of Life

  1. Dear IZ!❤️
    I am literally blown away with this.❤️ Perfect amalgamation of Urdu- the language of love and English with beautiful metaphors. This is a gem.❤️

    1. Oh Sameera, sweet one. Did you know that every time you visit me, you leave a smile on my lips for the longest of while? *smiles*

      Needless to say, how humbled and joyed I am to read your kind words. Behad shukriya xx

    1. … And who else could hear so well the ‘unsaid’ — between each letter, comma.. and even mute fullstops like you do, darling Poetess?

      Thank you always for coming by. This meek ‘home’ rejoices each time.


  2. Oh wow… stranger, you are awesome beyond words. I’m going to follow your blog and would love to be showered more in future by same glittering words. By what name can I address you? Ishtar zikr.. is your nickname or were you trying to say something else in your profile? Deep poetry… so strange… so mystic and so unbelievably beautiful.

    1. Aadaab, Amir. Such a pleasure to welcome a ‘king and lion’ to my humble abode. Khoshaamdeed! *smiles*

      Aur, daad-o-sataesh ke liye behad mamnoon hoon. For us ‘weaver of words’, there’s nothing more delightful than to see a stranger liking one of our humble creations. And you have done so with such generocity and kindness, Amir. Not to mention how wonderful a poet you are yourself.

      Ah, your question reminded me of this verse of Ghalib; if I may share:

      “Bak rahaa hoon junoon mein kya kya kuchch.
      Kuchch na samjhe khuda kare koee.”

      *smiles* Pray call me Ishtar.

      1. Takhliya… Shahzadi Ishtar… Aap tashreef rakhye aur bataye kon tha woh kambakht jis ne itni khoobsurat unglion ko khamoshi se likhne pe majboor kiya? Jallaad ko pesh kiya jaye!!!

    2. Jumbish, makun, hoshiyaar…

      Aadaab Janaab *this time with hand gesture too* Tashreef laiye, Huzoor.

      Mazrat.. It took me more time to reply to you than to write nine poems. But I simply wanted to take my time and sit in your charming company. After all it’s none other than the ‘King’.

      Jallaad? Haww. This really made me laugh.. Oh how I wish I can spell out the name with these silent fingers without them going mute. Thus, I sing for you:

      “Jis naam ki taazeem kiya karte hai parade.
      Us naam ko divaar pe likha na karenge.”

      And, please do forgive my poor Urdu. I’m from a land which does not speaks Urdu nor Hindi, but I simply fell in love with your classical Ghazals and language.

  3. First I wanted to tickle you with speaking in Urdu only but then decided to continue in English since you seem to be on a path to learn Urdu. Why such a sudden interest in Urdu? Was that “kambakht” some Urdu-speaking guy?

    Did you just sing something and all I saw was those words written here, without your sweet sound or any background music? Princess Ishtar, let’s fire all of your music band people and you can place an ad outside our place for new hire. Or in other words, do you have a Youtube channel where one can see you “LIVE” in action singing?

    Oh God! how many questions do I ask? That’s me, the curious Amir 🙂

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