Poetry / June 2014 (Issue 24)

Beautiful Old Country

by Insha Muzafar

The yellow neon
of leaves flutters and falls
and through the helpless
humanness of sweaters
cold wind flows like a phantom
The fingertips trace
Rising flames of waning candles
how long these nights are!
the old man
weighs life with
what is left;
the fatherless grandchildren
playing on his hunched back
wrinkles must not be waves;
it is a beautiful country
etched on despondency of smiles
weaved in almond paisleys of carpets
and wish knots of shrines
And you say living
is enough
And beauty suffices
Is it so?
In darkness when a child
hides in pheran of his mother
(Afraid of the marching boots
that leave monstrous footprints in courtyards)
and falls asleep
reclining on her soft bosom
dreaming of falcons and doves
Tears of his mother hiss in the embers of kanger
(Remembering dark yesterdays
fearing tenebrous tomorrow)
Snow drifts through crevices
of old houses
and simulacrum of flakes
gathers on disused hearts
In endless isolation of silence
and white frozenness of moors
some have been walking
some are walking
and some shall have to walk
But tonight; sky is a destitute
hope but a naked shiver
what shall remain of journeys?
what path shall dissect this stone skinned fog?
oh! how distant you shall be!
beyond the binding of
afternoons and evenings;
the sapphire of toothed hills
the white of scattering clouds
I know I won’t be there
where the sun will become you
like the milestones of this wandering country
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