US

POETS’ CORNER

US
By S. K
Fri, 03, 20

Humiliated: every memory, all promises; Death snaps the cord of hope....

Faith in their hands shall snap in two

By Asna Safdar

I

The heart settles for nothing.

Clarity leaves me wanting

On bare sidewalks

Of mediocre existence.

At home, the silence screams

At work, the noise

Beats my eardrums numb.

Dear mother, I am tired.

How do you live a century half

So warm, so alive?

Dare I tell you

I have lived and I have ceased?

Unwise like a twelve

Demented like an eighty

I have aged, in my sleep,

In the nauseating, dull hours

Of cooped indoor evenings,

In the aching, unwilling

Disenchantment of workday mornings.

You think I am away

Learning to save lives

While I become a disbeliever

Of love and life.

II

I have learned to tell apart

The dying and the dead.

A lifetime of toil, giving, settling

- Always for less -

All in the dread of the fabled loneliness

And yet in the final moments

It is I, the white-garbed stranger,

Subject to their last appeal.

Eyes roll up and lips part

Colour drains and they lie still

Like wax dolls.

Mere chaara-gar ko naweed ho

Saf-e-dushmanan ko khabar karo

Jo wo qarz rakhte the jaan par

Wo hisab aaj chuka diya

(“Give tidings to my caregiver,

Inform the enemy lines

The debt they owed to my life,

Today that account has been settled.”)

Faiz knows the caretaker,

The chaarah-garr has had enough

As she turns to break the news.

Static. Resentment.

Our mass, gross powerlessness.

Attachment holds pain over

Our unsuspecting heads

Dangerously low.

Humiliated: every memory, all promises;

Death snaps the cord of hope.

What an act in the name of living!

So easy to convince,

So ready to believe;

Human innocence is baffling.

III

Just when I learned

To paint my face better

And youth finally agreed

I find we are bound

To meet such ugly ends

It will be hard to fathom

We were ever beautiful.

You think lonely is what you are

When a room empties

The chatter stops

A love leaves

A parent dies

If only you knew

The loneliness that awaits you -

Awaits us all.

Compiled by SK