The Summer of Our Discontent

Poems inspired by 2016 Summer Uprising in Kashmir

 

Defiance

This summer too
They came
Trampling my dreams
Under their heavy boots

This summer too
They came
Tearing my body
With their sharp pellets

This summer too
They came
Drowning my voice
Under their shrill rhetoric

This summer too
They came
Cowing me down
With their brute power

This summer too
They tried
This summer too
They failed

On My Blindness

Good they took my eyes
What is there to see
Hopeless eyes of widows
Sallow faces of orphans
Bent frames of fathers
Torn breasts of mothers

Good they took my eyes
What is there to see
Wounded bodies writhing in wards
Torn limbs festering on beds
Desolate houses shrouded in grief
Empty streets drenched in blood

Good they took my eyes
Would they take my other senses too
No more do I want to smell the pungent smoke
No more do I want to hear the shrill shrieks
No more do I want to touch the cold corpses
No more do I want to taste the bitterness
Of promises not kept

Good You took my eyes
Now take my other senses too
Take them all
Take them
Take all
Take

Thoughts of a Father

Maybe they will lift it today
I will go and find work
Fell a tree, perhaps
Mute witness to this horror
Or wash a street
Still streaked in red

Maybe I could go to the busy bazaar
And buy
A canister of oil,
And a bag of rice
As white as the valley’s snow

Maybe your Mauj will cook it
In turmeric water
Add a dash of salt
Season it with oil
And leave it to cool

Maybe I will feed you the sunshine – rice
Your favourite tehri
One small fistful after another
And gaze with regret
At your beautiful eyes

Maybe later we will hold you close
And softly sing
The songs of azadi
And lull you to sleep
After nights of hungry wakefulness

Maybe they will lift the curfew
Maybe they will lift it today
Maybe they will
A little more patience, my child
A little more patience …

Nusrat Bazaz  teaches  in the Department of English, University of Kashmir. Her field of specialization is American Literature. She is an avid translator ,and has translated many Kashmiri short stories into English. She has also co- translated Persian poems of Ghani Kashmiri , the 17th century Persian poet of Kashmir considered its literary and cultural icon. The work is published by Penguin under their Classics Series  as Captured Gazelle  : The Poems Of  Ghani Kashmiri.

 

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