The cry of wounded soul

A new poetry book (2019) by Kashmiri poet Qaiser Bashir is out. Kashmir Lit has a few poems for you to read from the book. You can buy it here on Amazon

 

Excerpts

 

Tanka

 

On a leafless bough,

sits a nightingale crooning

a most mournful song

in memory of its garden,

that grows: sobs, tears and sorrows!

 

A Nightmare

 

A candle, sitting like a minaret

On the windowsill of my room, painted

My silhouette on the wall;

 

I happened to see the silhouette

That danced, as I tossed back and forth

On the edge of my walnut wood bed.

 

I glued my gaze at it and said,

‘O dear candle, who has taught you this?’

 

There came not a reply,

But a gentle tapping on the window.

Then, there was a pin drop– I could hear

The lub-dub, lub-dub of my heart.

 

Open the window… or we’ll break it!

 

I lost my breath. And thought: who could they be?

Then there was a bang– a window broke into shards;

And in barged a pack of human wolves, faces veiled.

They caught me. Sealed my mouth. Tied my legs

And arms. And scourged me!

 

I screamed. And I yelled such

That from our kitchen my mother and father ran

And woke me up.

 

Ah’ it was morning. And I, in my bed.

 

 

In Our Courtyard

 

O foreign birds, all is not alright in our courtyard!

Come not over: a battle they fight; in our courtyard!

 

The dogs, grandfather brought to chase away enemies

now at our flesh bite, in our courtyard!

 

Every day and night, our windows and doors they break

when we just say: let’s set things right, in our courtyard!

 

Our peace longing cries reach well to our Good neighbours,

yet Kan Jung they do with greater delight, in our courtyard!

 

For how long shall we mourn the lost Happiness, Zoran?

Pray– swept away is our plight, in our courtyard!

 

Tonight, I Wish

 

Tonight, I wish I sing

songs, euphonious,

with a host of winking stars,

in the dark beautiful moonless sky!

 

Tonight, I wish I wing

over the seas, hills

and plains like free birds–

praising Him, our Lord, so high!

 

Tonight, I wish I transform

into swallows, numberless–

so that ammunition laden monsters,

I invade and destroy!

 

Tonight, I wish I float

like a chinar leaf

on the waters of Dal

and our burdens, our sorrows I cry!

 

 

Snow

 

On the strands

of unsung lakes

and forgotten dales,

snow falls to balm the burns

of the soil and souls

living a life:

devoid of meaning,

of purpose!

 

A Proof, That We Suffered Much!

 

O’ moon, spread your warm arms

and hug the cold, lonely souls

wandering, here and there, for warmth!

 

Darling hyacinths, pay call on tonight

and stitch our cuts

with adamantine threads

of your aromas!

 

Undiscovered isles, refuge the birds

of burning gardens

in your soothing thickets,

and glue their cries

on every damask petal, as testimony!

 

Come morning breeze

hold our woebegone sighs

in your hands, rinsed in dew;

and after we are gone, incise them

on our headstones– a proof,

That we suffered much!

 

 

 

In Memory of Aasifa

 

With a horse and her innocent courage,

she plodded unto meadows green:

To guide the horse to graze

under the sky clear and the sun ablaze.

 

A little fairy of years eight

roved here and there like a hart,

loved the fragrance morning breeze brought.

She danced with butterflies white

and hummed tunes that lit her face bright.

 

Amid the beauty of lush meadows,

a storm that murdered her joys rose:

A host of human hounds trapped

her fragile, nubile body

and by them, she was multiple times raped

in a temple, in front of a blind and deaf god.

 

Hardy’s Tess-Aasifa-was not:

That a reader would say– she too enjoyed

the moment like Tess; and so, feigned a sleep.

 

“Baba, Baba”, Aasifa continually cried

till they hit her head with a stone; ah’ she died!

 

No, no, Aasifa, you are not dead,

but alive in our memory like

Kunan and Poshpour in books:

Our blood stained history.

 

 

Positivity

 

In the city of lights,

I lost my way

And landed in a heap of uncertainties.

 

As the night fell, I sat

under a tree:

astray and solitary;

and beheld the moon,

descending like blood from a cut on a finger.

 

Like me, she looked fraught

and lost; but unlike me,

there was a rapturous warble

on her parched lips,

which inspired me to move on.

 

 

 

From the Eyes…

 

From the eyes of a matron,

living alone in a cottage forlorn,

creeks of freshwater seeped down

to heal all of her scars,

grown years ago on her cheeks:

when the only flower,

that had bloomed in her garden,

was butchered in paddy fields,

in a countryside—a hot zone

of dread and terror;

by men, unknown!

 

 

Quatrains

 

I

 

After rains, that afternoon in August

appeared a rainbow; from it, I

borrowed red ink and scribbled a sigh–

Why do our birds (so young!) die?

 

II

 

A singer, I had known rather a long ago

called on us; lyrics of Habba Khatoon– our star;

he hummed like bulbuls atop a gigantic chinar.

How could I enjoy them, in the middle of a war?!

 

III

 

In the dwelling of my heart, a thought

sprouts as blossoms on a naked apple tree,

when a blast of wind whizzes by, so free–

Will the wind dismantle the walls of tyranny?

 

Qaisar Bashir has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Kashmir University. He is also an educator and translator. His poetry has been published in reputed journals like The Criterion, Langlit, Muse India, Setumeg and atunispoetry.com amongst others. Qaiser has also translated a Kashmiri novel “Akh Dour” (Once Upon a Time) by Bansi Nirdoush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: