Poems by Gulzar


The Evening Is an Interlude

The evening is but a pause,

A cold sigh

Or a new paragraph.


All days and nights pause here

Time turns over and continues the narrative.

The evening is but a pause.


The Trees Every Evening

The trees cradle the shavings of day

Only to wave and cast it away

Over the green shoulders of the hills.


But the day grows back again

In the solitude of night,

Sprouting from the branches

I had sawed and felled.

3-Cigarette gulzar


The cigarette,

Glowing between my fingers,

The sun’s farewell just a puff or two away.


The sea asked of me one last drag

And in the pause between the puff

I saw the day grow ashen.




Sometimes, the moon peeks

From behind the mountains

And measures the snow.


If all is clear, it will summon the flock

One by one, they come out, shy little stars

Some wrapped in a woolly haze,

Others a-shiver, sneaking away from the moonlight.


The herd glitters all over the sky

Until their shepherd comes calling, ‘Hoosh, hoosh…’

And herds them home.

5-Horizon gulzar


You can see it in the horizon

The ink-black cat emerging.

Its face caressing the twilight

Which will soon turn red-hot, sipping the sun.


It licks its whiskers

Slick with yellow tongue

Lifts a corner of the night

And escapes towards tomorrow’s dawn.

6-Dirty-Ragged-Dawn gulzar

Dirty Ragged Dawn

Dawn breaks, grimy and bruised

The sky looms tattered


As though a cat had trampled

That sheet of sky

With paws, wet and dirty.

7-Forlorn,-Widowed-Voices gulzar

Forlorn, Widowed Voices

Often forlorn, widowed voices

Echo from the mosque’s backyard

Linger on the brick wall

Wail with parched lips against stone-deaf ears

A requiem for a primal Allah

Who placed the human race in their wombs

And retired to a silence known to the grave.


Ever So Slowly

Slowly, ever so slowly, the bottle has emptied out.

We drank of this year, sip by sip

Each swig, a taste of fire,

It left our lips scorched.

Gulzar is a poet above all things. He started his career as a lyricist in the 1963 film Bandini and worked with many music directors including R. D. Burman, Salil Choudhury, Vishal Bhardwaj and A. R. Rahman. He directed films such as Aandhi and Mausam and TV series during the 1970s and 1980s. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award—the highest award in Indian cinema. He has won several Indian National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards, one Academy Award and one Grammy Award.

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