Jamil Malik, a prominent Pakistani educator who passed away in 2001, is also a poet of national and international repute. We share Malik’s poem ‘The Three Days of Life’ (Zindagi Kay Teen Din).
This is childhood, this is youth, and this is old age
They are the three days of my life.
My one-day childhood
Was consumed in laughter and play,
While singing and swinging.
All day long
Here’s the only thought that covers my mind like fog:
When will I reach my youth?
I wonder when my youth will pull me and
Lead me to the golden valleys!
Youth has arrived but
The second day of my life, with my joys
And holding you close to my heart
So disappeared that I supposedly
Was a traveller who lost his way,
Someone who was lost
Amid the golden towns
Of the world of dreams and mirages.
When I opened my eyes
The third day of my life was standing over me
She came to me as if to say, “Who am I, tell me!”
I looked at her in surprise
Not a single word came out of my mouth, but
She tapped at my waist and said:
“Don’t be sad, darling:
Old age too is a reliable walking stick
And a companion, both for you and me.”
(*): Born in 1928, Jamil Malik taught at a high school in Rawalpindi for many years, after graduating from the Gordon College, Rawalpindi, having completed his undergraduate studies in Urdu and his master’s degree in Persian. Jamil Malik, who received numerous accolades for his services to education to which he devoted 50 years of his life, is also known for his poems at home and abroad. His Urdu and Punjabi poems have been collected in 20 books, some of which were published after his death in 2001 and won many awards.