In the month of April which is dedicated to poetry Samia Meraj curates some poems for Kashmir Lit. The poets featured here are Inshah Malik, Omair Bhat, Sobia Bhat, and Samia herself. Scroll down to read:
Heart aches for summer,
And you aren’t around
I had asked intercessions
Of prophets, to keep us,
From wandering into unknown seasons.
How then should this love go on?
When you leave the past,
And I escape the future
And it snows in April?
I admit I was wrong,
I told you, rather repeatedly
that I won’t take it seriously!
This life, in life?
being kind is my only motivation
And your realism creeping through
years of eating from the bowls of mistrust,
at the steep pathways to hell
it made me only sip this poison, in make-belief
I admit I was wrong,
there was no reason to believe
my goodness would dance
to the tunes of partial death
whispered with the lullabies
of mothers who babies are still-born
and the determinations
with which these birds perched firm to our veins,
poked their beaks
on to the scattered food of unrelated lives
It would go off, Yes, I believed
mid-air a magic would be born
I admit I was wrong,
I should have seen it was a norm
that voices of sanity,
too, fetched madness
and motivations of goodness
weren’t enough to stitch
us ladders that could
withstand the weight
of our deeds, sobs and heart aches
I admit I was wrong
I knew I was born in a world
made of dreams from the amputated limbs
of the boy, who I fell in love with
when I barely knew the meaning of dreams
I know you told me many times
But let it go now
Our bruises decorated on this canvas
makes love a pleasant abode.
we will need heart aches, as heirlooms
we have nothing else,
to pass on!
I rise and fall, like a tide
in your arms
I tread the invisible roads,
streamlined like lines on our hands
I reassuringly ask you,
Have I lost that track?
You in your valiant smirk,
hide no pretentious phrases,
and you reassure me, I was alright!
Yes, I’m alright
I still believe nothing
just like when it all was new, and I was so young!
Then too I knew my belief is fickle
in love, in humanity, in religion, in God,
in the state and in man as my lord.
I know now it’s not my belief which is fickle!
Where heart’s misery
Comes to an end
Miseries become transient
I touch the wet leaves
Of my Earth’s sobbing
Home, I need your embrace
Or I’m a worthless tear
Unable to shed itself.
Descriptions of the martyrs
1) Amir, 16
– wears a cap.
has not sprouted yet, maybe, still a boy, a very young boy.
eyes : the colour of brass moon.
in a recent photograph, on Facebook, standing against a wall, he is smiling.
looks somewhat like a rapper, a dancer, who knows.
2) Ishfaq, 24
– nose : big, slanting left.
in his eyes, a flock of pigeon are in flight, sea is pecking on a bough of cloud.
hair, perfectly combed.
in a photograph he looks lost.
could be a poet, harvester of languages, which no one will ever know.
3) Zahid, 24
– a window, in the wall, that has partly been blown away.
eyes: fluttering butterflies.
hair: jet black.
his photograph : another spring.
favourite sport: cricket.
- murdered: 28 March, 2017. bullet injuries. target fire.
- murderers: indian occupying forces and, very much, people of India.
( their role : complicit in the atrocities their armies are carrying out in Kashmir. )
- legacy: resistance, no forgetting, no giving up, fight back ‘ till war retires for a siesta, in winter, and never wakes up from it. ‘
How’s Kashmir advancing into autumn in war?
Have leaves already turned yellow?
Do they spiral down like listless words
and, gingerly, settle in your hair?
What poems do they etch,
in rain, on the plaques of your sadness?
Have walnuts been shed from trees?
I can imagine your hands red from the colour of green walnut hulls.
I can imagine your mother rebuking you
and you telling her
‘ Ma, in winter, just as every other colour vanishes, this dark hint of my ‘ haang ‘ will also vanish, quietly, from my hands. ‘ (Write to me if you still go out, in curfew, at daybreak, into mist, to collect fallen walnuts?
The count of your winter treasure of walnuts,
was less than mine.
You had vowed you’d collect more next year.
It could have been a tough competition.
But you didn’t know I’d be gone so early.
You didn’t know we would be scattered around,
in this war,
we would all run for our lives.
I miss you
I miss my home in you I have carved into my imagination.
Write to me what it is like now to stand at the riverbank,
in the blinding light of morning,
to watch sun rise, and how it is to sit, on the patio, now,
in the afternoon sun.
If at all,
after the day’s violence,
Do the birds not return to the silence of trees at sunset?
When in silence I sit and think about you
My love reclaims you
Like a drunkard
reclaiming the blurred image of God in the crimson red of the wine.
And my heart heralds you
Like a poet heralds the ordinary
as Love and then laments over the prolonging of that brief grief
of pain and happiness.
And my vision focuses
on the bright glitzy maroons
of the time we first met
chooses to click photographs
of the grey dark streets
of separation instead
you left me an imbecile
to silence and
listening to the echoes of
When in silence now I sit and think about you,
that my understanding of you
of this silence
is paranormal and I am left amazed
Seeing senses and answers mazed up all around me.
In silence now,
I see myself falling for the melody
Of this Mute rapture of
Burning words and meanings.
I give up
Voices being too coarse, too distant and irritating.
But somewhere clings this mad desire,
on the walls of the silent nights,
Desire of you coming and in your voice breaking the ice
That has sedimented on your ways to me.
In silence, I dream of you
Holding me and telling me
That” oh darling, I have always loved you,
I used to write a letter each night
In colours red and white
That silence is a torture
we commit each night.
The country I had been to had no post office ”
You insist me to speak
But adamant in my silence I would reply
“I have loved you,
in the brutal screams of the silence and I have loved you enough
to trust you
to come looking for me.
I gave in to the charm of no poet, no artist
However hard they tried.
I have loved none but you ”
Where does this sadness stem from?
Who stitches its shadows to the faces in the city?
From which shrine, which fountain does this quietude flow?
Flowers age untimely, the cold summer refuses to leave.
Last spring, we wore a facade of faltering smiles
Tiny buds were breaking into dead flowers.
We had nothing left to harvest.
Today the dusk- over my empty house- sits with its wings opened,
crooning to me the songs of a city Srinagar isn’t.
In the corners of my dreams
distant gunshots still hunt for young flesh.
Their prayers for peace taste of our blood.
But who is this hopeful child
who walks in the streets of the memory tonight?
who demands you sink your feet into the earth and stay.
Cordoned from every sides, a dream has no curfew pass
Even in my memory, the bullets compete for his laugh!
Blood gushes down my corridor.
Hope flies past the checkpoint.
Now my palms too,
read to me,
To take home
for shelves and for memories
there’s nothing here today.
But come again tomorrow
with your bags empty and a longing heart.
Love-ached, the mountains will hold you back.
Or rather hope, that night gathers its ruins and flees away.
Only then, the winter will end
and we: the children of tomorrow
will probably live out another day.
The first summer was brute.
I soared from from green into drought yellow of the desert, trembling like a kindling I collected as a kid.
“Everything is dying”, I said.
“It all comes back”, you answered.
And then it did.
Then the Nemesis fell, blending the valley, the sky and my finger bones in the color of the wet rice.
“I am not home”, I said.
“This is home.”, you answered.
Somehow it became.
Now, good twenty three summers later, this fever is my only home.
Unlike before, I do not wish for winter this year.