Ishrat Afreen

(25 December 1956 / Karachi / Pakistan)

The First Prayer Of My Elders - Poem by Ishrat Afreen

From the womb of the night
A tiny ray of Light was thus born:
Night uncurled the lovely pink fists of Dawn
read her palm
whispered to the Morning breeze
and made the dew weep.A Star laughed
Moonlight smiled and went tripping away
Turning on her side, weakly
my mother started, then, keenly
she gestured
A flutter of movement, a whisper:
"Oh! Is that a girl?"
Such deep sadness in that voice, O God!
The very first which wrote itself onto my hearing
In my very first breaths it stirred,
the bitter poison of defeat as i heard
‘Oh, it's a girl!'
‘A girl!'
‘Is this a girl? Pray for her good fortune, then.'
It is still carved into my hearing
The first prayer of my elders.

[Translated by Rukhsana Ahmad]


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 9, 2012



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