Pages Of MyHeart

(Poems)

K. Sohail

               DREAMS IN THE MAKING

               IN SEARCH OF PEACE

               MAGIC OF LOVE

SHARING MY DREAMS

 

  1. CREATIVE ENCOUNTERS
  2. Closer To Yet Another Breakthrough
  3. Words
  4. Literary Orgasm
  5. Children
  6. Extensions Of My Creative Self
  7. Sometimes I Feel Scared
  8. A Spring That Keeps On Flowing

 

ENCOUNTERS WITH SELF

8. Apprehension

9. Loneliness

10. Who Am I?

 

INTIMATE ENCOUNTERS

 

Part I - Evolution

11. Unfinished Novel

12. A Special Moment

13. A Human Miracle

14. Islands

15. We Re-Create Our Lovers

16. Keeping The Spark Alive

17. When Lovers Are Friends

18. Dancing All Night Long

 

Part II - Resolution

19. Existential Journey

20. Discovering New Islands

21. Fountain Of Love

22. A Turning Point

23. Two Oceans Coming Together

24. Loving One Woman

25. Woman

26. Surprise

27. What Do You Think?

28. Relationship

 

Part III - Conflict

29. A Woman In A Glass House

30. Flying With One Wing

31. The Only Woman Who Was Not Jealous

32. Sexual Irony

33. Faithfulness Is A Gift, Not A Right

34. A Hostage Of Love

35. A Cat Trying To Catch Her Tail

36. Lonely Artists

37. Swimming In The Deep End

38. Flame Of Love

39. Death Of Love

40. A Wedding Poem

 

FAMILY ENCOUNTERS

41. O30th Wedding Anniversary Of My Parents

42. A Miracle

43. Children

44. Daddy's Courtyard

45. The Language Of The Hearts

46. Heart Broken

47. A Daughter's Nightmare

48. Christmas Dinner

49. Two Voices

50. Unfortunately

 

WOMEN'S ENCOUNTERS

51. The Red Circle

52. This Is My Body, My Life

53. Consolation

54. A Lesbian

55. Coincidence

56. One Woman To Another

57. A Girl Who Lived On The 21st Floor

58. Double Murder

59. I Am A Woman

60. My Story

 

ENCOUNTERS WITH NATURE

61. Dark Night

62. Snow Man

63. A Cloud

64. A Wild Flower

 

POLITICAL ENCOUNTERS

65. Why?

66. Colonialism

67. South Africa

68. Crime

69. Jerusalem

70. Two Brothers

71. An Elderly Soldier

72. For How Long?

ENCOUNTERS WITH LIFE

73. Man

74. An Eternal Cycle

75. Hesitation

76. Some People

77. Life

78. Love

79. Island

80. Wind, My Companion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing My Dreams

 

Sharing my poems is like sharing dreams that are very dear to me. Unfortunately, words never do justice to our feelings. I am quite aware that we all have dreams that are special to us and they make us human. I feel that sharing them with others helps us better understand ourselves and others and also broadens our existential horizons.

Whenever I review my life, I realize that I have been fortunate in many ways. As a child my family, as a teenager my teachers, and as an adult my friends and lovers showered me with affection. Maybe that's why I can easily trust and respect

other human beings and feel optimistic towards life.

Reading, writing, travelling and meeting new people have always been my passions. They have opened new doors of awareness for me. The more I read books, travel and experience life the more I come closer to a Humanistic view of life.

I have gradually come to realize that the world we live in and dilemmas we face as human beings today are quite complex, I strongly feel that before pointing our fingers at others we have to acknowledge that we are our own worst enemies. We fall into the same traps of biases and prejudices as we accuse others. I think that we have reached such a turning point in history where we are forced to make certain choices individually and collectively.

I hope that we do not proceed on the path of self destruction ending in collective suicide and instead decide to discover new ways of living harmoniously with ourselves, other human beings and Mother Nature. Perhaps one day we will reach that state of communal growth and human evolution where we can accept that whether they are children or elderly, women or minorities, physically disabled or mentally sick, all human beings have a right to live respectfully and grow peacefully. For our future development as a species we have to transcend the resentments based on class, race, gender, language or religious differences and anger because of the conflicts between East and West, North and South, first and third world and many other man made divisions. Sooner or later we have to accept that we are all human, members of the same family and our enemies are part of us, just distant cousins.

I am quite aware that these are my personal and global dreams, but I believe that we are the product of our dreams. When our dreams are shattered we start to disintegrate individually and collectively.

 

 

Sohail

September 1989


 

 

 

 

 

Creative Encounters

 

Closer To Yet Another Breakthrough

 

Every day I feel a step closer to my fantasy, my dream, my destination. I feel the chains in my heart melting, the walls in my soul crumbling, I feel ready to be reborn.

I always wanted to write, the way I talk, natural, spontaneous, charming, informal, full of humour and wisdom, telling stories, folk tales, poems, anecdotes, sharing my past, present and future, the child and the old man in me. But whenever I started writing I became formal and inhibited and serious and lost the natural flow I had in my mind, in my heart, in my soul. I was always in conflict between the artist in me and the philosopher in me, between the left and the right sides of my brain, between the conceptual and the imaginative sides of my thinking. I had been carrying both sides of me side by side for years. One side wrote essays, the other side created fiction and poetry. One side produced ideas, the other side gave birth to images and metaphors.

But gradually in the last few years both sides are coming closer, coming together, touching and embracing each other, both sides realizing that they don't have to confront each other, they can cooperate with each other, they can even merge into each other without fear of losing their identities because they will be reborn in the new creative product.

I am realizing that I am gradually being transformed, transformed to a different, to a higher, to a deeper level of existence. It is making me experience new feelings, new thoughts, new images, new metaphors, the feelings, thoughts, images and metaphors that I never experienced before. I am discovering new peace, new tranquillity, new nirvana, new harmony. It is making me a better person, a richer writer, a faithful friend, a committed lover. It is making me accept my vulnerabilities, my sensitivities, my limitations and then transcend them to a new phase, a new stage, the stage where the walls between different sides of me, different roles of my life, roles as a writer, as a lover, as a friend, as a therapist and many other roles are melting and creating a unique harmony. I am gradually being transferred into a rainbow, all colours seen separately but also merging into one colour, the colour of the light, the colour of the morning, the colour of the sunshine. After forty years of deep sleep in a dark night I am waking up to a new day, hearing new music, smelling new flowers, starting a new life.

But what is the catalyst in transforming me?

Is there more then one catalyst?

Is it my role as a psychotherapist?

Is it the company of my friends?

Is it the intimacy of my lover?

or

Is it the act of writing?

that is liberating me. It is a mystery for me. But it is a nice feeling. Although I don't fully understand it, I still enjoy it. It is like

 

the feeling of a cool breeze

the feeling of the warm sun

the feeling of a passionate kiss.

It is the feeling of losing myself in life and then rediscovering myself

as a writer

as a lover

as a friend

as a therapist

as a ..........

Maybe I am getting closer to yet another breakthrough in life.

April 1993

---

 

Words

 

Words

are arrows - that pierce our hearts

are hooks - that retrieve our memories

are matches - that ignite our souls

are mirrors - that increase our awareness

are friends - that console us

are therapists - that transform us

are teachers - that liberate us

are lovers - that seduce us.

Have you ever taken them seriously?

Have you ever embraced words?

 

March 1993

---

 

Literary Orgasm

 

Reading the books of Henry Miller

was like experiencing a literary orgasm.

Reading the diary of Anais Nin

and watching the movie `Henry and June'

was the foreplay.

Reading Miller's novels `Tropic of Cancer' and `Tropic of Capricorn'

was the mainplay

and

Reading Erica Jong's book `Devil at Large' and Miller's novel `Collousus of Morouosi'

was the afterplay.

It was a journey

from sensuality to sexuality to spirituality.

He reminded me of my favourite Russian Monk Rasputin

who believed that

sex was the shortest way to get to God.

Miller's books were energizing, inspiring the qualities of great works.

 

He gave me the gift of ACCEPTANCE

accepting oneself, other people and the world

even if one does not fully understand them.

 

I thank Anais Nin and Erica Jong

for introducing me to him

If I had met him in person

I would have hugged him

and kissed his hand

the hand that wrote masterpieces.

He was no doubt

one of the greatest literary gurus

of the twentieth century.

Living in America, France and Greece

he brought the philosophies of East and West together.

He created wisdom literature.

He was ahead of his time.

He stood alone.

He was rejected.

His books were banned.

He was crucified on the altar of morality

but he would live

like other great writers and philosophers

in the hearts of millions of people.

I feel honoured

that I read his books.

 

April 1993

---

 

Children

 

Whenever I think of

my ideas, my poems

my stories and my characters

I feel as if

they are my children

they have a mind of their own

Whenever I impose my values on them

they walk away from me

and if I let them go

they surprise me

and come back

for longer periods

and bring their friends with them too

I feel excited

to have an opportunity

to relive my past, my childhood

through them

Parenting children can be trying

but enjoyable in the long run

Some more than others.

 

March 1992

---

 

Extensions Of My Creative Self

 

Whenever

some intense feelings

some wild images

some unusual thoughts

some unresolved conflicts

discussions with creative friends

memories of unexpected travels

and

some leisurely moments

come together

 

then

miracles happen

in the form of

poems, stories and letters

becoming babies

extensions of my creative self

my reasons TO BE

 

February 1992

---

 

Sometimes, I Feel Scared

 

Generally,

I feel optimistic

believing that

I am a Creator

But

sometimes,

I feel scared

thinking that

creativity is intimately related to destructiveness

we destroy the people we love

The women loved by Picasso

either went to mental hospitals

or killed themselves

We have to destroy the old

to build the new

whether they are

habits, traditions, lifestyles or relationships

But many times

we can destroy the old

but can't build the new

I knew some women

who had

numerous miscarriages and stillbirths

before they had

live healthy babies

 

I feel nervous

thinking

about those miscarriages and stillbirths

Generally,

I feel optimistic

believing that

I am a Creator

But

sometimes,

I feel scared

thinking that

creativity is intimately related to destructiveness

and I wonder

whether the gods

feel scared too.

 

February 1992

---

 

A Spring That Keeps On Flowing

 

I write in the mornings

I write in the evenings

I write during work days

I write during weekends

I write during holidays

I write all the year around.

Whenever my friends ask me

What is the secret of your prolific writing

I usually smile

I don't say much.

I know

I can't satisfy their curiosity in a few words.

I want to show them

the flame that has been burning in my heart

the spring that has been flowing in my soul

the workshop that has been operating in my mind

for as long as I can remember.

Even as a child

I was fascinated by books.

I used to read children's stories and fairy tales.

My dad used to bring home books,

books of religious stories and folk tales.

As a teenager

I used to regularly visit the libraries

and read all the books

in the sections of literature, psychology and philosophy

 

I used to have

lengthy discussions with my uncle

about the art of literature

and philosophy of life.

During that period I got so inspired

that I started to create stories myself

but I was too shy

to share them with anyone.

As I got more confident and outgoing

I sent my short stories and poems

for publication.

I was thrilled to see them published

in the college and university magazines.

In the medical college

I even became

the editor of the literary magazine.

I was pleased

to be acknowledged

for my contributions.

I became well known

in the literary circles of the university.

After leaving the university

I spent nearly a decade

in Iran, Newfoundland and New Brunswick

in literary isolation.

I used to write periodically

but I lost touch with

writers and literary magazines.

 

My main focus was

to become a specialist in psychiatry

to learn about the human mind and personality

hoping

it will help me to be a better writer

and also not struggle financially.

After establishing myself professionally

I moved to Toronto

and focused on my writing again.

I feel in the last decade

I have blossomed as a writer

and I wrote a lot.

In the last decade

my living alone,

having a lot of free time

to read and think and write,

having friends

with whom I can discuss different issues and concepts,

going on holidays

to finish my projects,

reading world literature

and translating it into Urdu,

getting published in literary magazines

and having feedback from other writers,

attending literary get togethers

all over the world

and sharing my poems, stories, essays

with other writers

helped me grow enormously.

 

There was a time

my creative process was like a rain

it poured for a few days

and I wrote a few poems

a couple of stories

and then I experienced a dry period.

In the last few years

the rain turned into a spring,

a spring

that erupts from the soil of my soul.

I can feel a flame burning

in my heart.

I can experience a workshop

in my mind

bringing different ideas, images and concepts together.

I enjoy the fire, the spring, the workshop

I write passionately and regularly

and when I see my uncle

who at the age of seventy

writes

with the same passion

as I write at the age of the forty

I feel optimistic.

He reassures me

that our creative selves

are so intimately connected with life

that

we would create till the last day we live.

He says

an artist is at work

even when he is not producing.

 

My uncle and I

representatives of

two generations

two schools of thought

not only

mirror and complement

but also

feel proud of each other.

Both of us

with our prolific writing

are mysteries

even to ourselves.

That's why

whenever my friends ask me

what is the secret of your prolific writing

I usually smile.

I don't say much.

I know

I can't satisfy their curiosity in a few words.

 

April 1993

---

 


Encounters With Self



 

Apprehension

 

I am afraid

That the noise of the outside world

Will drown one day

The music inside.

 

August 1987

---

 

Loneliness

 

I leave her at home

Still, I sense her standing quietly

in the corner of my office.

I abandon her at work

Still, I find her waiting

at home

with open arms.

 

January 1989

---

 

Who Am I?

 

Sometimes I ask myself: Who am I?

Human being, Satan, God?

Why do I feel lost?

Why do worries plague me?

My heart whispers:

I am rather amazing

an ocean, a cloud, a drop of rain,

a boat, a storm, a shore,

the belief of a nonbeliever

a confused mass of protoplasm.

 

Sometimes I am in awe of my own charms,

lost in my own thoughts,

suffering the pain of loneliness,

enjoying the company of friends,

contemplating suicide,

enjoying the gift of life,

I sometimes wonder whether I am insane,

wise, a poet, a murderer,

full of contradictions,

a confused mass of protoplasm.

 

I face crises and grow with them

I know

I am the creator of my own life,

master of my destiny,

saviour of tradition,

future of humanity,

I still cannot understand the mysteries of my self;

I love life and also despise it;

I kill my brother, save my enemy,

I am the traveller, the road, the destination.

 

Sometimes I

cherish affection, love hatred,

become Habeel, Qabeel, Jibrael, Adam, Eve, Satan,

get trapped in the dialogues of Good and Evil.

 

Sometimes I

love nature, destroy nature,

grow plants, cut trees,

get lost in my own home, find destinations in a jungle.

 

Wash my sins in moonlight

reap punishment, rewards of love.

If I try to find myself, I get lost.

If I forget myself my heart whispers:

I am

my own enemy, my own friend,

a stumbling block, a prophet.

 

I am a traveller

travelling since the birth of life,

travelling till the death of life,

I am Satan;

I am God;

I am Human;

I am Nothing;

I am Everything.

 

K. Sohail

March 1989


---

 


Intimate Encounters


Part One - Evolution

---

 

Unfinished Novel

 

Each human being

is an unfinished novel

that starts at birth

and is left unfinished

at death.

When two human beings

get involved in an intimate relationship

they start

writing a new novel together.

When three novels

are being written and lived simultaneously

plots thicken.

Some novels are short, others long

Some are artistic, others philosophical

Some are boring, others exciting

Some are harmonious, others full of conflicts.

There are times

when we all feel

we are incomplete chapters

of an unfinished novel

 

the novel

that human beings

have been writing for centuries

each one of us is introduced

as a new character

but we have to write, act and direct

our own roles

and get involved

in intimate relationships

to create suspense.

The irony is

we can't rehearse our roles

or re-write our scripts.

 

August 1993

---

 

Special Moment

 

That moment is special

the moment that

makes it possible for people to

ignite a spark in their beings

leave their fears and inhibitions behind

gain enough strength and courage

to jump into the unknown

open new windows

to peep into their futures

extend their arms

and touch

each other's

bodies, hearts, minds and souls.

That moment is special

the moment that

binds people

in a special bond

irrespective of their

personal and social differences.

 

That moment is special

the moment that

helps people

transcend their

personalities, backgrounds and philosophies and come

together.

That moment is special

as it is

mystical and magical.

 

August 1993

---

 

A Human Miracle

 

When you meet a woman

from a different

ethnic, religious and cultural background

that you have never met before

and feel as if

you have known her all your life.

When you shake hands with her

and talk

and kiss

and embrace

and make love

and feel as if

you have talked and kissed and embraced and made love to her

hundreds of times before.

When you meet such a woman

and feel as if

two clouds of loneliness,

two fragrances of sensuality,

two waves of passion

and

two melodies of spirituality

have come

mystically and mysteriously together.

 

When you meet such a woman

and feel as if

you could be friends and lovers forever

.

.

and she feels the same way as you do

.

.

you start believing in miracles.

 

April 1993

---

 

Islands

 

In our difficult times when I see people

losing

faith in themselves

trust in their relationships

and

hope in their futures

and feeling

resentful of their lovers

angry with their families

bitter about their pasts

I feel as if

we are all swimming

in an ocean of disillusionments and uncertainties

and

in that ocean

when I come across

special relationships

relationships in which people

are happy with themselves

affectionate with their lovers

and

optimistic about their futures

I feel as if

I have discovered

islands of hope

I become curious about

the ingredients of those relationships

and the process by which

those people

kept the relationships alive

made them grow

and over the years

grew together rather than growing apart.

 

September 1993

---

 

We Re-Create Our Lovers

 

Lovers are artists

the relationships blank canvases

and with each contact

each stroke

we make impressions

on the canvases and our lovers

and when the pictures become identifiable

either we feel euphoric

and rejoice with our lovers

or feel sad and angry

and blame our lovers

not realizing that

we have re-created our lovers

in the relationships

the lovers that

we sometimes resent.

 

September 1993

---

 

Keeping The Spark Alive

 

"What's the secret

The secret of your exciting relationship?"

I asked a middle aged man

a man who was happy with his life

and

proud of his lover

the lover he had for twenty years.

"I never let the spark die

the spark I felt on my first date

the spark that ignites my soul every day."

He said

"I have not stopped dating my woman

I call her from work whenever I have an urge to call

I send her silly cards

I invite her for long walks

I read her my favourite poems and stories

I take her out for movies and dinners

I believe

Dating keeps the spark alive

and

I want to keep on dating her

till the day I die."

 

August 1993

---

 

When Lovers Are Friends

 

"What's the secret

the secret of your stable relationship?"

I asked a middle aged woman

a woman

who was happy with her life

and

proud of her lover

the lover she had for thirty years.

"He is not only my lover

he is my best friend too

I can share anything with him

I can praise him

question him

criticize him

adore him all in one day.

We know how to

iron out our differences

We see crises as

opportunities to grow

those crises

don't cause breakdowns

in our relationship

we experience

breakthroughs instead

I feel secure in the relationship

I know he is with me

in mind and soul

even when he is not with me in body.

We are not only lovers

and good friends

we are soul-mates too."

 

 

September 1993

---

Dancing All Night Long

 

"What's the secret

the secret of your harmonious life

in spite of your

professional, ethnic, religious and cultural differences?"

I asked a couple

a couple that was celebrating

their golden jubilee

"My mother told me ..... "

she said

"The relationship lasts

not when

lovers look at each other

rather when

they look in the same direction."

She also said

"It is the destination that matters

not the routes that we take to get there."

 

He said

"My father told me

Being in an intimate relationship

is like running

a three-legged race.

 

It is better to run slowly and together

rather than to

run fast and fall in the way."

He also said

"We have learnt to dance

to the music of our souls

We started dancing when we were young

and we have danced

all our lives

all night long.

We grew old dancing

in harmony with each other."

 

 

September 1993

---

Part Two Resolution

---

 

Existential Journey

 

Let's join hands

and start travelling

on the highway of intimacy

Let's start a new journey

a journey in which

all we know is our beginnings

we don't know

which road

and which mode of transportation

we would take

we don't even know

which maps

and which highways

we would follow

we don't even know

which places we would stay and see

On our way

we might have

scorching sun

pouring rain

or

snow storms

We might have

poor visibility

and

slippery slopes

but

we will continue our journey

Life only gives us a one way ticket

We might even take separate exits

for a while

to join each other

on the highway of growth

And

when we stop growing together

we might

grow separately

but still

remain friends

.

.

.

.

What do you think?

Can you join me on that journey?

Would you join me on that journey?

 

 

January 1992

---

 

Discovering New Islands

 

We are all trapped in our oedipal triangles

We are all chained by our family traditions

We are all fed by the poison of love

We are all struggling to free ourselves

We are all waiting for someone

to ignite us

to inspire us

to transform us

We all resent our parents for controlling us

We all resent our loved ones for trying to liberate us

 

We all have to jump into the ocean of pain

We all have to learn to swim

as we swam in the amniotic fluid

We all have to be a part of a relationship to be free

as we were part of a relationship to be conceived

We all have to wait for nine months to be reborn

as it took us that long to be born

We all have our choices

A choice to stay chained to family traditions

and resent our parents

A choice to run away from home leaving them behind

and lead an isolated, lonely existence

or

 

A choice to embrace someone special someone

who can dare to jump with us into the ocean of pain

who can swim with us long distances

who can be patient when we are tired

who can discover new islands with us

islands of

passion

and

joy

and

tranquillity

and

inspiration

and

harmony

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Are YOU ready?

Let's discover those islands together.

 

May 1993

---

 

Fountain Of Love

 

For forty years

I was reluctant and scared

to drink from the fountain of your love

I believed it was poison

that would kill me

So I danced around in lust for years

kissed your eyes, your lips, your breasts

but

did not drink from the fountain

that erupted from your heart

and then

in the desert of loneliness

and the scorching sun of adversities

I got so thirsty

I could not resist

your irresistible charm

I kissed your forehead

I embraced you

and drank from the fountain of your love

I realized

that the poison

after killing me once

turned into milk and honey and soul's wine

it gave me a new life

a new strength

and I started to dance again

the dance of intimacy and commitment

and then I realized

to receive the gift of a new life

one should be willing to die.

 

March 1993

---

A Turning Point

 

It was the

happiest/most painful

realization of my life

that I had

grown in/fallen in

LOVE

I felt extremely

euphoric/sad

because I had

never felt so

strong/vulnerable

before

I wondered

if it was a

breakthrough/breakdown

and whether

I was reaching

a stage of

maturity/old age

in my life

I felt as if

 

I was entering a

promised/virgin land

and starting an

adventurous/hazardous

journey

I wondered whether

you will

join me/leave me

at this turning point

of my life

because that will

MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE

March 1993

---

 

Two Oceans Coming Together

 

When I was in school

I felt like a pond - stagnant

I used to read books

to throw pebbles in the pond.

 

When I was in college

I felt like a lake - restricted

I used to meet people

from other parts of the world

to broaden my social horizons.

 

When I was in university

I felt like a river - restless

I used to write poetry and fiction

to break the limitations of traditions.

 

When I left my homeland

I felt like an ocean - deep and profound

I used to study philosophy

to imagine a new world around me.

 

And then I met you

and I felt as if

two oceans came together

and I remembered

climbing up the Table Mountain

in Cape Town in South Africa

to see

how Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet

a mystical and mysterious experience.

 

March 1993

---

 

Loving One Woman

 

One of my writer friends once said

It is better to love one woman

in a concrete way

than all of humanity

in abstraction.

 

April 1993

---

 

Woman

 

I wandered for years

in the deserts of my loneliness

I was a stranger to myself.

Then, I met you

And after a long time

became reacquainted with myself.

1979

---

 

Surprise

 

She came just for a chat

And caused such a commotion

She came for afternoon tea

But left after breakfast.

 

1979

---

 

What Do You Think?

 

Let us leave the excitement

of union

and

just talk for a while.

 

May 1985

---

 

Relationship

 

I relate to the world around me

in many ways:

Sometimes through flowers and sometimes through dreams;

Sometimes through children and sometimes through the old;

Sometimes through pain and sometimes through joy;

And I believe

that all these relationships with life

grew from my bond with you.

You are the one who

conceived me

delivered me

introduced me to this world

helped me understand its mysteries.

You are the one who lived

like flowers in my mind

like dreams in my eyes.

You descended like cool evenings

in scorching afternoons of my life.

You blossomed like water lilies

in the marshes of my soul.

Your closeness was heaven.

Your distance hell.

 

You were a ray of hope

in dark desperate moments.

You were a lullaby

in my sleepless nights.

You were always

a source of strength,

a symbol of inspiration

a message of caring,

a testimony of love.

You are my beginning,

You are my end.

You are my struggle,

You are my destination.

I discover a new bond with you

at every turn in my life.

You have been

my shadow

my mirror

my reflection.

You are

my friend

my confidant

my beloved.

 

January 1985

 

---

Part Three Conflict

---


A Woman In A Glass House

 

I know

a young bright charming woman

who lives in a glass house

and keeps all her front doors and windows locked

I can see her

I can talk to her

 

But

 

I cannot TOUCH her

Whenever I knock

She comes to the door

Gently talks to me

But does not open the door

I have been waiting for years

When I ask her "Why don't you let me in?"

She remains silent

I can see fear in her eyes

I think she is scared

Scared of herself

Afraid that

If she opened the door once

She may not be able to close it again

 

But

 

She may be surprised one of these days

I might enter through the side door

And give her a hug

A hug that will .......................

 

 

February 1992

---

 

Flying With One Wing

 

She was disappointed that

when her husband died

I did not send a condolence card

or call her to console her

When she asked me the reason

I said

It is not the time to be sad

It is the time to celebrate

You always told me that

You were trapped in a

loveless marriage

and felt as if you were

flying with one wing for twenty years

I think you are lucky

Life has given you another chance

Now you can fly with both wings

 

She said I never thought that way

After a few months when I met her

She was happy

She had a boyfriend

a man

that she cared for.

 

 

March 1992

---

 

The Only Woman Who

Was Not Jealous

 

He loved her dearly

but

he loved other women too.

And she could not understand

how

a man could love more than one woman

One night she asked him

if he would be honest with her

and tell her

if he loved other women

and intended to sleep with them.

He smiled

"What if I said `Yes'."

He was mischievous.

"Then I would leave you."

"But why?"

"Because I am deserving of a faithful relationship."

"Then I can't be fully honest."

"Why not?"

"Because I don't want to lose you."

 

"I don't care if you care about other women

or even fantasize about them

but I don't want you to sleep with them."

He was silent.

"Do you think I am immature to think that way?"

He didn't answer.

He was lying there with his eyes closed

"Why don't you answer me?

Are you afraid to hurt me?

Are you afraid to tell the whole truth?"

He was still silent.

It was not that

he did not want to answer her

he had not heard the question

because

he was fantasizing about the woman

the only woman he knew

who was not jealous.

 

April 1992

---

 

Sexual Irony

 

The irony is that

he does not want to go

but he can't cum either.

He has been married

for twenty years

to the same woman

always unfaithful to her

having affairs on the side.

His wife

a kind and gentle and forgiving soul

letting him get away with murder

living in the dark.

Finally

one evening

someone called her anonymously

and told her all the details

of his escapades.

She felt humiliated

and hurt

and embarrassed

and wounded enough

to confront him.

 

He apologized profusely

but kept on seeing his mistress

that he was seeing for years.

His wife demanded sex

he was impotent.

He said

he couldn't be unfaithful to his mistress.

His wife gave him an ultimatum.

So he tried

an empty chair technique

and decided in favour of

his wife and son and family

and said `good bye' to his mistress.

But

it has been a year

since he made love to his wife.

The irony is that

he does not want to go

but he can't come either.

He hates feeling this way

but that's the way he feels.

And she ....

 

February 1992

---

 

Faithfulness Is A Gift, Not A Right

 

Some people are faithful to themselves.

Some people are faithful to their relationships.

Some people are faithful to both.

Some people are faithful to none.

Some people are faithful to one but not the other.

When people who are polygamous by nature

are faithful to their relationships for a very long time

they become unfaithful to themselves.

When polygamous people

decide to lead monogamous lifestyles

they usually become dull and boring

and after a few years

either become couch potatoes

or have extramarital affairs.

When people who are monogamous by nature

are unfaithful to their relationships

they become unfaithful to themselves.

When monogamous people

decide to lead polygamous lifestyles

they usually feel anxious and guilty

and after a few years

either go crazy

or have a divorce.

 

Monogamous people think

it is their RIGHT

to ask for sexual faithfulness in the relationship.

Polygamous people think

it is a GIFT

that they offer to their lovers

from time to time.

 

April 1992

---

 

A Hostage Of Love

 

You have been in pain

You have been suffering

You were in conflict even the first day I met you

I think you are a hostage of Jonathan's love

I don't think you are free

I don't think you are at peace with yourself

I always felt

We have to be free to find peace with ourselves

We have to be peaceful with ourselves before

We can enjoy closeness and intimacy with other people

You are at peace with yourself as a mother

So

You enjoy your children

You are at peace with yourself as a friend

So

You enjoy your friends

But

You are not at peace with yourself as a lover

So

You can't enjoy Jonathan

Maybe you have to lose him to find yourself as a lover

And

Once you are at peace with yourself as a lover

Then

You can be close with another man

Without pain and suffering and guilt -

Whether he is Jonathan or anybody else

When you are in pain and in conflict yourself -

All you can bring to the relationship is suffering and conflict

Sometimes we have to lose something to find something

The more precious the thing we want to get

The more sacrifice life asks us to give.

I was hoping you could find something without losing anything

I tried my best but it did not work

Maybe you have to take the first step towards freedom

I know it would hurt Jonathan as he loves you dearly

But

His love will set you free from itself

He has grown enough to see

that

your happiness with or without him is more important

than

his desire and need to have you in his life

as a lover.

He can still enjoy your friendship and parenting

two beautiful children.

But by letting you go and discover yourself

he might grow as well

It might be a painful process

but

it might all be worth it in the end -

a peaceful existence separately or together.

I am still willing to work with you

separately or together

for a peaceful co-existence.

I wanted to give you my honest feedback

at this crucial turn of your life.

I have great respect and admiration for

you and Jonathan.

 

December 1991

---

 

A Cat Trying To Catch Her Tail

 

She always dates two men at the same time.

One

who is stable but boring

the second

who is adventurous but unstable.

She gets genuinely confused as

she desperately wants to get married

but she loves to lead the single life too.

She longs to spend weekends with someone

but refuses to give up her private time too.

She dreams of security and stability

but does not sacrifice her excitement and satisfaction.

She fantasizes about having a family

but does not put limits on her business.

She wants to maintain her family traditions

but wants to break them too.

She is shrewd in business like her father

but naive in relationships like her mother.

She goes round and round in circles

like a cat trying to catch her tail.

Finally

she loses both men

feels depressed, dejected and abandoned

has panic attacks on her birthdays

dreads being a lonely spinster one day.

And in that panic

she meets two new men

with different names but similar roles

and characters

and the cycle starts for another few months

the cycle she can't break.

 

February 1993

---

 

Lonely Artists

 

I met a wise old woman

who was an artist and an intellectual.

She told me

it was a sad predicament

to be in your seventies

in the nineteen nineties.

It was an experience of having

an empty heart

an empty bed

and an empty womb.

She told me

most men she met

were either shy, conservative or inhibited.

They were intimidated

by her

individuality, creativity and independence.

She felt lonely.

I shared with her

that I believed that artists

whether men or women, young or old

were eternally lonely people.

They had empty wombs

as they gave birth to creative products.

They had their destinations

and all the lovers they met

were only co-travellers for short distances.

Lucky were the artists

whose lovers were also their friends

and could travel with them

even after

the romantic relationships were over.

Loneliness was the price

artists paid for their creativity.

They could not choose

a stable life and

a mundane relationship

even if they wanted to

because

they knew intuitively that

routine life

whether of a profession or a marriage

killed artistic talent.

I told her that

I had met artists

who had accepted their fate gracefully

the fate of

loneliness of their creative selves

and were happy with their art

and friends

the friends who

became their lovers

from time to time.

 

July 1993

---

 

Swimming In The Deep End

 

For years

we went for swimming together

and

amongst other men and women

swam in the deep end of water.

Unfortunately

one evening

while

I joined another swimmer

unintentionally

I pushed HER under.

She swallowed some water

she was about to choke

when some of us took her out

and helped her

she recovered that evening

but

got a terrible fright.

I felt awful

and

genuinely apologized later on.

It has been six months

since that incident

but

she is still scared.

Whenever

we go swimming

she

either sits on the shore

or

stands in the shallow end.

Whenever

I hold her hand

and

try to encourage her

to swim in the deep end

she gets angry

and

accuses me of pressuring her.

I wonder

if I left her alone

swam in the deep end myself

invited her from time to time

gave her time and space to recover

maybe

one day

she might find

enough courage in herself

and regain

enough trust in me

to

join me in the deep end

and

we could swim together.

 

June 1993

---

 

Flame Of Love

 

Your love

is like a scorching sun

that burns every body it touches.

Your love

is like boiling water

that scalds any skin it comes close to.

Your love

is like a volcano

that destroys every village and town it hits.

I never questioned your INTENTIONS

you were always caring and affectionate

you always meant well.

It was the INTENSITY of your passion

that was unbearable.

Whenever I wanted to touch you

I had to wear

a helmet, gloves and an overcoat.

Unfortunately

you never appreciated my desire to touch you

you always complained of helmet, gloves and overcoat.

I had to protect myself.

I did not want to get burnt.

I did not want to feel angry and resentful.

I hope one day

the heat of your passion mellows down

you become desirable

like a summer breeze.

You become lukewarm

like baby's milk.

 

Then

I would not be afraid

to come closer to you

and give you an affectionate hug.

June 1992

---

 

Death Of Love

 

You want me to be honest with you

So I want to share with you

that

the love we shared for years

is dead.

I realized the death a few years ago

when

one day

while we were having dinner quietly

in a fancy restaurant

I asked you

"How come you don't talk to me anymore?"

and you said

"After ten years of our marriage

we have nothing to talk

we know everything about each other."

When you uttered those words

something inside me dropped and broke

I could see shattered pieces

all over the floor of my heart

Maybe we have to accept

the sad reality

that our love is dead

Maybe we can weep together

the way we used to laugh together

Maybe we can mourn together

the way we used to celebrate together

Maybe we can invite

our children, friends and families

and announce that

we can't pretend anymore

Maybe we can be honest with them

but before

we are honest with them

we have to be honest with ourselves

For a relationship to grow

both partners have to love each other

For a relationship to break

only one partner has to stop loving

So let me be honest and say

I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE

I feel sad saying that

but that is the truth

In spite of all that

I am still living

under the same roof with you

because

we have beautiful children together

and I respect you as a parent

I am still spending

so much time with you

because

we have a history together

and I care about you as a friend

But the spark of love is gone.

Let's go our own ways

If one day

I feel the same spark again

I will let you know

But until then

I wish you the best in your life

and I hope

you wish the same for me

Even if

we can't be lovers

maybe

we can still be friends

I thought

I will let you know

that

I will be sleeping

in a separate bedroom tonight.

 

September 1993

---

 

A Wedding Poem

 

Sometimes it happens that

two who have been travelling together for years

unaware of the future of their dreams

intoxicated by the promises of love

proud of their good fortune

get lost at some turn in life

and get separated from each other.

 

Sometimes it also happens that

two strangers travelling together

unaware of their paths and destinations

not knowing each other well

no promises, no pledges of faithfulness

get together through pure circumstance

wedding bells ring, flowers are exchanged

and everyone celebrates their union.

 

June 1993

 

Written by Ahmed Faraz (Urdu),

Translated by Sohail and Anne Aguirre


K. Sohail -----------------

---

 

Family Encounters

---


On The 30th Wedding Anniversary

Of My Parents

 

 

People told us and we believed them:

Life is temporary; its colours fade.

Relationships are temporary; their fragrance disperses.

The lamp of love dims with time.

But then,

We kept asking ourselves:

How could our parents remain friends for thirty years?

How could they live together for so long?

We could not understand it before;

We do not understand it even now.

We wonder

We know so little about the people we live with;

We know so little about the people we care for.

We keep hoping that

One day,

We might know the secrets of human bonds

And appreciate our own parents.

 

September 1986

---

 

A Miracle

 

Amber! My dear sister!

You are a living miracle.

Whenever I see you I wonder:

How could you

inherit our parents' conflicts;

marry a stranger;

meet the challenges of life;

look after the children;

tolerate the oppressions of our time;

and still

not give up or go insane?

It's inspiring to see you

growing and progressing in life.

My dear sister

Come closer

Let me embrace you

You may be younger in age

but far ahead of me in life.

 

December 1988

---

 

Children

 

When my nephew and nieces play with me

I become ecstatic.

When they talk to me,

my mind

is filled with innocent perfumes.

When they tickle me,

sparkles glow in my heart.

When they embrace me,

I feel honey trickling

to the depths of my soul.

Their mother

looks directly into my eyes

and asks:

How long will you

keep producing lifeless books?

When will you

create some live babies?

I listen to her,

I smile

and remain silent.

 

December 1988

---

 

Daddy's Courtyard

 

This courtyard

your daddy's courtyard

in which

you spent your childhood

you ran and fell and got up

you played and laughed and had fun

one day you will leave

and the courtyard will feel sad.

 

This courtyard

your daddy's courtyard

in which you learnt

how to hold a book and read

how to hold a pen and write

how to do small things and help your mom

your cute talk

made everybody smile

but drowned your daddy in deep thoughts.

 

Your daddy always knew

that one day

you would leave him

and he would

lick the wounds of separation

Oh my charming daughter!

Oh my lucky daughter!

The day you will leave this courtyard

I will be heartbroken

My hands will tremble

my cane will fall.

 

But at the moment of sadness

I will be ecstatic too

If tears of pain will roll down my cheeks

I will shake with laughter too

I am quite aware that

Daughters are like sparrows

They rest on the perch of one tree for a while

and then move on to the next

They are the pride of one home

and the joy of another

 

Your mom too

when one day wearing

a red wedding dress on her body

beautiful jewellery on her forehead

hina on her hands

and kajal in her eyes

had arrived in this courtyard

bringing us perpetual spring with her

she had also made

her daddy's courtyard sad.

 

June 1993

 

 

Written by Arif Abdul Mateen

(In Punjabi)

Translated by K. Sohail and Anne Aguirre

---

 

The Language Of The Hearts

 

What a surprise

Jeanette left a message on the answering service.

When I called her back in New York she said

I dreamt about you.

After my grandmother's death

you came to my office

and asked me

how I was doing.

Your face was radiating

you had a halo around you

you looked very spiritual.

When I woke up

I felt very calm and tranquil

 

I felt better.

I shared my dream with Rozi

and he asked me to share it with you.

I remember Jeanette's grandma.

She was a graceful looking woman

with grey curly hair

and wrinkles on her face.

She was affectionate and kind.

 

When she found out that I was a poet

she asked Jeanette to bring her uncle's book

and read a poem for me

the poem that Jeanette's uncle had written

for his mother.

While Jeanette was reading the poem

her grandmother's face was radiant with pride.

 

Although her grandmother did not speak English

and I did not know Spanish

but still

we had perfect communication

we understood the language of the hearts.

July 1993

---

 

Heart Broken

 

I knew an Eastern woman

who like other Eastern women

wanted to "run her family",

but was never successful.

She wanted to decide for her husband

and choose for her sons

and when they chose for themselves

she felt abandoned.

When she came to America

to be with her son

to fulfil a dream,

a dream she had for years

it did not take her long

to realize that

her dream was turning into a nightmare.

Her son had changed,

changed beyond her comprehension

He was no longer proud of his ancestors, he believed they

exploited the poor

treated women unfairly

and destroyed their environment.

He told his mother

the time had come

when men

did not feel embarrassed to cry

acknowledged their weaknesses

helped their wives in the kitchen

held their hands in the labour room

and changed diapers of their children.

His mother was lost.

When she was young

she did not understand her husband

who was a poet

and a revolutionary too

who had sacrificed everything he had

for the betterment of humanity.

And in her old age

she did not understand her son

who was far ahead of her.

They spoke the same language

but still could not communicate.

She

like many other Eastern women

all her life

neither understood her husband

nor her son.

She was so heart broken

she used to cry in her sleep.

 

July 1993

---

A Daughter's Nightmare

 

I have severed all my ties with my mother

Neither do I talk to her on the phone,

Nor do I visit her

Whenever she invites me

I try to excuse myself

It is not only that I don't love her

I resent her passionately

I hate her eyes

her face

her body

her whole being

Whenever I meet her

I feel bitterness oozing from my body

Whenever I talk to her

I feel the poison melting in my mouth

Whenever I think about her

I feel snakes of anger hissing in my mind

But then,

it is also true that

whenever I see the mirror

my eyes

my face

my body

and my whole being

remind me of my mother

and I spend sleepless nights

tossing and turning

realizing that

I am gradually becoming like my mother

the mother

that I resent passionately.

 

 

December 1989

---

 

Christmas Dinner

 

It was a beautiful Christmas night.

The snow was falling lightly, as tiny flakes of silver.

The city was bathed in the glow of Christmas lights.

Excited and happy, the family waited

with food and presents piled high;

waiting for him to arrive

so the celebration could begin.

With a bang

the old man staggered through the door,

looked at the presents in the corner and

kicked them in anger and disgust.

 

He looked at his family with bloodshot, tearful eyes

and poured out his anguished heart,

held back for so long:

O my children

you stay away all the year

And try to make up for it by Christmas presents.

You live smug and safe,

I dwell in depths of despair;

No one comes, no one goes.

 

I talk to myself all day long.

Everybody knows here

that their families have long died.

 

We celebrate that death

once a year

by giving presents,

lighting candles.

How we all pretend!

I celebrated all day,

just to get myself drunk enough

to tell you people:

For God's sake

Don't do this to me again.

 

December 1985

---

 

Two Voices

 

FIRST VOICE

Every day in immigrant families

Parents ponder with real concern,

say to themselves:

We are losing our culture;

our language is changing;

our values are disappearing;

The heavy burden of our past

is nagging us.

What will happen to our children

in this land?

 

 

 

SECOND VOICE

Parents must remind themselves

that if they love their children

and want the best for them,

then they must be aware

of their children's limitations.

 

They must be more sensitive to

their needs and aspirations;

they must not burden their shoulders

by loads that they can't carry

Our world has changed so much

We have sown the dreams

that our children one day will reap.

What we must give them now

is love, encouragement and trust.

 

 

September 1984

---

 

Unfortunately

 

Children

do not stand on their own feet

until

their parents die.

 

January 1989

 

---

Women's Encounters


---

 

The Red Circle

 

It's the seventeenth of the month.

I feel confused.

My mind ... a can of worms;

My body ... a fish out of water.

I ask myself:

Should I believe it or not?

Is it true or is it not?

I had been pacing back and forth in the corridors since morning;

my mind was full of crazy thoughts.

Finally in the afternoon,

I returned to my room, exhausted,

laid down on my bed,

picked up the calendar,

turned a page,

and saw a red circle

around the thirteenth of the last month

But this month...?

Even thinking about it

makes me shudder

I'm scared, I'm shaking

I'm lost, I'm confused

And I keep on thinking

It's the seventeenth of the month.

 

1973

---

 

This Is My Body, My Life

 

What an ordeal

The whole family was in crisis.

Everybody whispered.

At last they all found out:

I was pregnant.

 

They all called me to talk;

Took pity on my miserable state

Sang age-old songs of marriage;

Whispered methods of abortion in my ears;

Related tales of fatherless children;

Lectured me on sins and punishment

 

I listened to them all,

quietly.

I wanted to,

but could not

scream:

Doesn't the whole world know that

THIS IS MY BODY, MY LIFE?

 

1984

---

 

Consolation

 

O mama!

You married me off to a far away land

And I went to my husband's house without a complaint

I tried my best

to forget the memories of you

But you were always there

whenever I closed my eyes.

 

I tried to change my environment

but I fell flat on my face

at each turn.

I tried to hold on

to a single ray of hope

but clouds of despair

always came in the way.

 

Today

when my husband scolded me

I did not complain

All I wished was

for you to be here

to console me.

April 1973

---

 

A Lesbian

 

COURT Did you kill her?

WOMAN (She remained silent astonishment radiating from her eyes)

COURT Didn't you hear?

WOMAN (Whispered) Yes.

COURT Did you commit any crime?

WOMAN Yes ... No... No, she didn't

COURT This is a court.

You must not hide anything.

You must not tell lies.

Speak up,

Tell the truth

Tell us the whole truth.

Don't be bashful.

WOMAN If I have to tell the truth

Then I have to say:

She was a special person

We used to live together

I was fond of her.

I adored her.

I loved her.

COURT Then why did you kill her?

WOMAN One day she told me that

she wanted to marry someone else.

I tried to stop her.

She tried to convince me.

 

The more I held on to her,

the more she struggled to leave.

Finally

when I thought

she wouldn't stay

I got so mad, I strangled her.

When she was taking her last breath in my arms

I was not ashamed.

I do not feel guilty even now.

COURT You committed a serious crime

You killed an innocent person.

Your punishment is death.

WOMAN (She remained silent, astonishment radiating from her eyes)

COURT We can give you one concession

We can grant you one last wish.

WOMAN Last wish ...

My last wish is to see her.

Show me her picture.

I want to embrace her,

I have always loved her

And I always will.

 

 

1976

---

 

Coincidence

 

One friend

said to another:

Whenever I make love to my husband

I always

fantasize about my lover.

The other woman

replied:

What a coincidence

Whenever I sleep with my lover

I can't get my husband

out of my mind.

 

1989

---

 

One Woman To Another

 

You are so close and yet so far.

You are my soulmate and yet my rival.

We have a strange relationship, you and I.

Many times you are my dearest friend;

but also my worse enemy.

 

April 1985

---

 

A Girl Who Lived On The 21st Floor

 

She used to be so proud of her heights

But then

I heard

One day

she jumped

and killed herself.

 

 

February 1987

---

 

Double Murder

 

Yesterday,

I was so happy,

so ecstatic,

bubbling with energy

carrying my unborn child,

kicking ... a sign of life.

 

Today,

I am wearing black,

weeping;

grieving;

suffering;

carrying now a corpse in my womb

I live but only as a grave.

 

Last night,

the father of my baby

kicked me so hard

that he killed my dreams

and my baby too.

 

November 1987

---

 

I Am A Woman

 

Life,

a dark dungeon

with

no door,

no window,

no light,

no fresh air,

no way out;

and I

sitting in a lonely corner

distressed,

depressed,

helpless,

hopeless,

with shackles on my feet.

 

I am a plant

whose leaves and branches

are desperate

for a drop of water.

 

I am a bird

whose master

after clipping its wings

asks it,

"Why do you not fly?"

 

 

 

February 1986

---

 

My Story

 

I am a woman

and have been hearing

all the stories about myself,

stories

told for centuries

generation after generation.

Honestly speaking

they are all lies

written by men

reflections of their own minds

rather than

our personalities.

Men imprisoned us at home,

put our naked pictures

in all the streets,

spread all kinds of lies

accusing us of obscenities;

wrote stories

of women as objects of lust

to satisfy their crude desires,

as symbols of weakness

to rationalize their own macho image.

For a long time

I was asleep

unaware of the harsh realities of life.

Lately,

I am waking up

to share with everyone

the truth, the reality

Sharing that

I was always the foundation of the home

a symbol of caring.

 

Recently,

I have started coming out of the home

to take part in all aspects of life.

I am trying to erase

all the old myths.

I am writing a new story,

the true story.

 

 

October 1987


K. Sohai

 

---

 


Encounters With Nature

---


Dark Night

 

Dark night:

a caring woman,

a kind mother,

a good friend,

Dark night:

a messenger of good news,

an ocean of love,

a galaxy of sweet dreams.

Dark night:

a caring woman

who sings lullabies and puts people to bed.

 

Dark night:

a kind mother,

who consoles all her children

when they are down and out.

Dark night:

a good friend

who hides

the sins of all human beings.

Dark night:

a caring woman, a kind mother and

a good friend.

Dark night:

a messenger of good news,

an ocean of love,

a galaxy of sweet dreams.

 

 

May 1988

---

 

Snow Man

 

One crisp bright winter afternoon,

Some young children from the streets

got together,

made snowballs out of new fallen snow;

sculptured my head, body, arms and legs;

decorated me with excitement and affection

and erected me in the city square.

For a while, they played with me

their laughter filled the air.

Then a fight broke out;

their anger needed weapons.

Their innocent hands turned cruel with revenge

my head, my body and my limbs

were sacrificed for snowballs.

Then, they left my broken body

to the mercy of the wind.

 

January 1988

---

 

A Cloud

 

I wander aimlessly

drift in any direction

unaware of my destination.

If I meet someone

who can share with me the secrets of heaven,

I join him

to see new places.

I am quite notorious,

known for my infidelity.

But

wherever I stop,

people come under my shade

to seek relief from the piercing sun.

Whenever I laugh

my rain

quenches the thirst of the world.

 

When I hold the moon

in my arms,

the stars blink with envy.

I am a wanderer,

but I love my freedom.

 

January 1988

---

 

A Wild Flower

 

I never adorn

the lapel of a coat,

the hair of a damsel,

or any dinner table.

I am never found

in sculptured gardens,

in decorated reception halls

or in any ceremony.

I am never sold in the city market

I do not compete with paper-flowers.

My smile is the expression of my freedom

 

I am always a part of nature

Far from the hypocrisy of human beings

I live in the jungle

Die in the jungle.

I am the prince of the jungle.

 

 

January 1988

 

---

Political Encounters

---


Why

 

Why do our prayers remain unanswered?

Why are our struggles in vain?

Why do our nights have no mornings?

Why are the trees of our life without fruit?

Ask the oppressed of our time.

 

November 1985

---

 

Colonialism

 

We hate our masters

and yet walk in their footsteps.

We spit on their faces

and yet embrace their lifestyles.

We are so naive.

 

November 1987

---

 

South Africa

 

The builders of the beautiful city were themselves homeless:

I have yet to see grosser injustice.

 

Whenever I peeped into dazed eyes

All I could see was tears and misery.

 

Their labour extracted diamonds from dark mines.

Their children saw nothing but pebbles.

 

Every traveller held back his tears.

Every pathway had stones crying their hearts out.

 

The eyes of the city are bloodshot with rage

This time we saw a new resolve in the air.

 

January 1986

---

 

Crime

 

Mama! Tell me

Why was my dad always in jail?

Mama!

What was his crime?

 

My son!

He was black.

 

 

January 1986

---

 

Jerusalem

 

The city of Abraham:

Foundations laid by peace, love and sacrifice;

To raise its walls further

Moses, Christ and Mohammad brought their followers

Her minarets adorned by years of labour of artists;

Their art will live forever.

 

Today, when I passed through her crowded streets

I held back tears.

I couldn't believe what I saw:

Her foundations were vomiting blood,

 

Her walls wailing in anguish;

Her minarets were restless,

Her residents fighting.

I saw a brother killing another.

 

June 1986

---

 

Two Brothers

 

Both of them were born

From the womb of the same earth.

They both suckled from the same mother.

They were the product of the same environment,

But

one became a soldier,

and the other a guerrilla.

And

all their lives

one was a disgrace

and the other a source of pride

to the mother earth.

 

One kept on killing

and the other protecting

the people of his land.

 

February 1989

---

 

An Elderly Soldier

 

For a long time

I was a soldier,

a servant of my land,

a humble follower of my religion

I fought in many a war,

made sacrifices.

Death touched me many times.

I fought in every war

feeling proud as I believed

that I was fighting for justice,

upholding truth,

spread the message of love and peace

I wanted to live with respect

and die as martyr.

 

And then gradually my ideals crumbled

as I discovered the secret agenda of my friends and commanders.

Then I knew that

patriotism was only obsession to expand frontiers;

justice, prejudice against enemies;

and love, disguised urge to oppress others.

After that realization

I went through hell.

 

Tortured by my conscience

I had many unanswered questions

I kept on asking myself

Who am I?

A soldier or a murderer?

Peacemaker or oppressor?

 

Although I left the army

a long time ago

Still, I carry a heavy burden

on my shoulders.

 

 

April 1989

---

 

For How Long?

 

Khalid, we ask ourselves:

How long will we

regard nights as days;

write lies as truths;

see the horrors of war and close our eyes;

hear stories of oppression but plug our ears;

fight the storms within our souls in silence.

 

Khalid, we ask ourselves:

How long will we keep fooling ourselves?

 

 

January 1985


K.Sohail

---

 

Encounters With Life

---


Man

 

Restless in gardens as well as in desolation,

Man wanders in search of spring.

He has lost faith in Gods as well as idols.

Man, today, longs for support.

 

April 1977

---

 

An Eternal Cycle

 

Young branches

growing

spreading

all over the garden;

but old leaves,

withered, are falling

into the lap of Mother Earth.

 

 

October 1984

---

 

Hesitation

 

Everyone walking,

All feet marching forward,

Life progresses;

But a child stands bewildered,

Too hesitant to cross the road.

 

 

October 1984

---

 

Some People

 

Trapped within their loneliness,

they are lost.

Isolated from society,

they are confused.

Once dependable and strong

like dense, shady trees,

they lost touch with Mother Earth

and became lifeless.

 

1984

---

 

Life

 

Life is a blanket just too short.

If you cover your head, your feet are cold

And if you cover your feet

Your head is bare.

 

January 1985

---

 

Love

 

Love is

a child's toy

and an old man's cane.

 

 

1979

---

 

Island

 

In the ocean of pain,

In the storm of affliction,

In the winds of suffering,

On the waves of disappointments,

There lies an island,

Far, far away.

And, on that island

There are gardens of colours,

There are lakes of happiness,

There are deserts of fragrance,

There are jungles of peace.

One of these days

We have to go to that land.

 

June 1985

---

 

Wind, My Companion

 

Wind, my companion,

Taps on my shoulder, and whispers softly:

Come along, my lifelong companion

Pack your bags, prepare yourself

It's time to set out again

Let's climb the mountains together;

Let's wander through valleys and discover towns;

Let's explore the next chapter of life.

I listened and replied fondly:

Oh wind, my friend and companion

Your invitation sends a shiver down my spine;

My dormant pains are brought to the surface again.

Do you remember, oh merciless wind,

the journey of last year?

 

We walked together

On the narrow, crowded streets of the East.

We explored the highways of the West.

Together we pegged our tents in scanty towns,

spent nights in posh hotels.

 

We met people and families;

We were welcomed and refused;

We did it all in our journey together

Oh wind, do you recall

The children longing for fresh air,

Left alone in streets, in hovels, and in shabby schools;

 

The elderly so lonely and helpless

Whose eyes mocked their loneliness;

Young, strong men,

Marching bravely forward with death riding right behind,

Women, degraded and oppressed

forced to accept submission in silence;

The blacks tortured and tormented

in their constant struggle for justice

And many families, falling apart from lack of roots

Running for so many years

watching their lives crumble amidst the bounty of their longing prayers.

 

Oh wind, my friend,

is that what we wanted to see;

is that happiness and progress?

 

The wind listened with smiling eyes and said;

My friend, you are so innocent, so naive.

What a coward!

One journey and you go whimpering,

dejected and depressed.

Look at me

Do you see me surrendering to the realities of life?

I have traversed these very roads for centuries.

Yet, wherever I go,

I sing a melody of joy,

For you must know that the quitters will be trampled upon while the song lives on.

I teach little children to smile;

I encourage the oppressed women to fight for their rights.

My sweet songs take the elderly

to a happy time in their past

and their wounded hearts are soothed.

I blow my cool breeze

To soothe those oppressed behind bars.

Wherever I go, I see all, I face all

and I try to bring some form of light and hope

to my weary friends.

There is no place, no person, no situation

that will run away from a song of wisdom and peace.

 

I listened to the wind,

I heard its message.

My strength returned,

My wounds began to heal.

I did not understand the whole truth

But I wanted to learn more.

I packed my bags and strapped my boots

And began to fly again with the wind.

 

 

December 1986