The Moonflower Tree

By Zehra Nigah Urdu Translation by Rukhsana Ahmad
As it in a dream,
I remembered last night,
The tree in a corner of my garden,
Studded with flowers of moonlight.

I would play beneath its shade
Sheltered afternoons long form the sun
Swing on the boughs, meeting them as they swayed
Touch the flowers and run
Into its tr4unk, had been sunk,
Scores of nails.
Many a time, had I been warned
Not to touch those nails.

That tree, they said,
Was haunted.
But a wise man
Had cast a spell on it
Trapped the giant within
Transfixed him with nails
Should anyone pull out those pins
It would release the genie within,

Which would devour, every flower,
Which would sap every leaf.

Then this house, this home would burn
In a flash, into ashes it would turn.

Within the confines of this body and soul
Dwells such a moon-silvered tree
Its leaves I’ve always confided in
Each flower has been a friend to me.
Still, I dearly love
The shade of this, my tree.
And in its trunk until this day
Lives bewitched that same genie
Even now I live in dread
If ever I should touch those nails
That ogre might escape
The flowers be may not devour
The leaves be may not want
But my home would surely burn!
Would it really into ashes turn?