Mainstream, VOL LIV No 43 New Delhi October 15, 2016
Poems of Nusrat Bazaz
Sunday 16 October 2016
July 2016This JulyThe moon peeps into my roomAnd wondersWhy I toss and turnIn my soft bedThis JulyThe early sun cannot fathomWhy, paper in handMy morning tea liesUntouchedThis JulyThe flowers in my gardenNudge each other, as if to askWhy I no longer lingerAnd drink in their fragrant beautyThis JulyMy little niece stares at meTrying to comprehendWhy I tickle her no moreNor join her splashing in the waterThis JulyI keep count of the deadAnd mourn thoseWhose days are darkened foreverAsk no more of me, ask no more...•••Joyless RainYesterdayIt rainedAfter months of scorching heatBut brought no joyTo the grief-stricken valleyIt could not douse the fire raging on streetsNor wash the blood splattered on wallsIt could not cool the parched soul of a motherSobbing for her dead sonNor soothe the blazing wound of a fatherNursing his blinded daughterIt could not entice little boys of four and fiveTo splash about and playFor this summer they learntTo mould stones from wet clayAnd lispAazadi, Hai Haq HamaraAazadi...•••Another BlackoutNo, noIt’s my birthdayShe weeps bitterlyPaying no heed I switch the lights offNani, she asksCan’t we have a golden-outInstead of another black–out?I look at her sadlyWanting to tell herThere is no golden hereThe only colours we knowAre Black and RedI want to tell herHow it beganOn another birthdayHer mother’s firstMore than two decades agoThe roomBrightly litDraped with coloured buntingsMy daughter in dazzling whiteLooked like a fairyTheir armoured vehiclesPatrolled narrow lanesA car sped byAnd thenA loud shotWe shrank in fearAll was blackAnd found next morningA body slumped inside a carAll in redSince thenThis is KarbalaWhere the red blood of innocentsIs mercilessly shedSince thenIt is MuharramAnd the streets dress in blackTo mourn the deadIt began that dayI want to tell herBut my motherHer mother ‘s grandmotherSays it began before thatLong before that...•••Kashmir CallsConscience-keepers of this countryYour mighty nationIs small, so smallIt feeds on the suffering of the haplessAnd drinks the blood of innocentsIt calls itself the world’s beaconAnd takes away the light of childrenConscience-keepers of this countryRemind your peopleNot so long agoYou were Jews to the English NazisAlasNow I have become PalestineAnd You, zealous ZionistsConscience-keepers of this countryAsk your leadersTo look me in the eyeLookMe in the eyeAnd SwearYou have not broken any promisesConscience-keepers of this countryBecomeConscience-Keepers Of your Country.•••Fears of a Kashmiri MotherWhat ifHe opens the windowTo peep at the streetWhere men in uniform now keep guardAnd a stray pellet pierces his bodyWhat ifAnswering an inner callHe rushes out on the streetsTo join thousands chantingAazadi, Aazadi, Hai Haq Hamara AazadiAnd a soldier takes aimWhat IfOur neighborNames him among the stone peltersTo settle old scoresAnd they come searching for himIn the dead of the nightAnd is never seen againWhat IfHe sneaks away in the curfewTo take a quick dip in the DalAnd his bodyIs fished out after daysDeckedWith small holesWhat IfWith leaden feetI rush to the nearby hospitalAfter a firing on a crowdAnd find himIn the catch of newly arrived bodiesStaring at me with sightless eyesA smile frozen on his lipsWhat if …….
Dr Nusrat Bazaz is an Associate Professor, Department of English, Kashmir University.