@ Through the City
Take me through the city
Of a hundred thousand stories,
By the magnificent fort,
Dimly lit, houses, hanging lanterns
The doors with iron hinges, worn woods
Touched, like holy bells, steps
To everyone their sanctuary.
I rubbed the texture of the night
Between my fingers;
I sipped, breathed, tasted and heard,
I saw, with open eyes, closed,
As the ancient airs were hitting my face.
Westward or eastward,
The city sleeps, on the planes, on the steppes,
The tired from Khyber and others preparing.
Fallen, risen and fallen again
Victorious and vanquished all alike,
Did not the hordes with their dance of blood
To the religion of the old city the pagans turned.
It will take along
Like a wrecked ship, sinking and sailing
Yet the shore is not far off, nearer than the river,
Kabul or Indus, Swat, bringing molten ice,
From Kashmir, Hindukush, from Himalyan glaciers.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Mushtaq Hussein nephew of Samander Khan, a Rebab-maestro, in the old city of Peshawar. In 1990, I got a Rebab made by them for myself, though I did not learn much to play it. Image @ Dawn.com
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