Muhammad Shanazar

Veteran Poet - 1,176 Points (25-11-1960 / Pakistan)

A Collective Grave Of Traditions - Poem by Muhammad Shanazar

I have journeyed a long way,
On never ending
Route of time
I have left far behind
My youth time,
And moments mixed
Bitter and sweet,
Mild and harsh.
I remember the sturdy
Village folk,
Men and women
Of the past years,
With whom I worked
In my childhood,
When came back
After the school hours.

In the month of May,
Beneath the hot sun,
They thrashed wheat
With yokes of oxen,
To change straw
Into heap of hay,
And separate
Grain from the silage,
With rural instruments:
Flails and rakes.
Whole the day
We moved, move around,
Catching cord
Of the inner ox of each yoke,
All the time
Pulling them inward,
Lest they should break
And go astray,
Behind them they dragged
Rough whoopers,
Made of bushes
Inter-twined with grass or straw.

The muscular farmers
Raked the circle of trodden straw,
Time and again,
The old women brought meals twice:
One at the noon
And the other afternoon,
And we all ate with a profound relish;
The taste that the meals gave,
Never was found
Even at the five star-hotels.
When evening befell
We all gathered hay, in longitude
Like a collective golden grave,
And at night we all assembled
For the great feast at farmer’s house
Whose wheat was thrashed.

Now I go through years
Of the mechanical age,
And no one is alive
Among those men and women,
When I sit alone,
The memory of those moments,
Stings me like tingles
Of the golden snakes,
I often recall brawny village folk,
With the invisible eyes
See them working, in the gain-yard
With turbans on their heads,
Rakes and flails in hands
Or on their shoulders,
I also see my mother,
At a the distance, bringing
Contents of meal on her head,
My appetite begins to grow,
And mouth begins to snivel,
I see them all making
A grave-like heap of hay,
In the grain-yard as if they make
A collective grave of traditions.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 31, 2011

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