(Dedicated to Atika Iram: My Daughter)
by Muhammad Shanazar
Blessings are the daughters,
Sin is to discard, disdain them;
They make the house alive, vibrant,
A place pulsating, worth living,
When they cling around the neck,
Or greet at the door blot all tedium,
Of the toilsome, tiring, arduous life.
When they play hide and seek,
And confine themselves in the rooms,
Or conceal behind the doors,
Or under the cots, or ride on the backs,
Of fathers making them their horses,
They seem to be the lasting assets,
Or long going, propping companions.
They grow like the trailing creeper,
Or like the boughs of wild prime rose,
Or too green mustard plants,
That grow in the manured, watered farm,
Of wheat on the plains of Punjab.
Then all of sudden a procession,
With pipers, drummers and fire work,
Arrives at some certain day,
To take, snatch them away,
When the parents look at the departing convoy,
With the tearful eyes the world seems hazy,
But these moments reveal a reality,
To the parents, perplexed, unascertained,
That the daughters are not home-pertained.