@ The Long Silence
A tragedian’s valedictory orations
A noble Othello,
The magnificent, articulate, self-conscious;
Greek, Roman and Church.
The vernacular is Christ’s cross.
And the saints’ perseverance.
Against nature and fate
Men’s avarice defeat a cause.
A mournful death.
That foul deceitful thing
Has no part in it.
In the East
The serenity of Lord Buddha
A mystic’s elixir,
A pagan rite
Gods of multitude
Or the all-powerful prevailed.
In today’s long silence
Utterances, understatements, broken speech;
To the point of saying nothing.
The long silence is a long shadow
Like “The graveyard poetry”
Still and numb.
For a past and a future, for the present.
Sadiqullah Khan's Other Poems
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
“The only message on this mysterious card is Long silence? ? ?
The view is of Victoria Street in Dundee, South Africa, a town named by Scottish settler, Peter Smith, after his home town. Peter found coal close to the surface on his farm and started selling it while continuing to farm. Dundee later became a major coal-mining area. The first battle of the Boer War was also fought nearby. The building on the right appears to be the Jan Johnson Masonic Hotel. In the foreground, we see a man pulling a rickshaw, a common form of transportation in South Africa at the turn of the century. Another man appears to be carrying a bicycle on his back.”
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