And By The Window We Sat - Poem by Sadiqullah Khan
And by the window we sat, gazing the uncertainties,
Are we the standing cypresses of the storms of the longest autumns
Or winters have dried our glazed luminescence we wore
The years were counts on fingers and days have waned
O the khojak Pass, when we were nearly crushed in the tunnel
By the train and we thought that how Shela the girl
Might have danced in the night to keep the tunnelers busy
In their dreadful nights, and take away their earnings of the day,
Thus was named Shelabagh, a garden where only
Barrenness flourish with the sheen of the mirrored earth
But above, above on the surface from the times of Ahmad Shah
Of the Durrani dynasty, and the later great game of the spies,
Of the one Malala, who made the warriors of Pashtuns fight invaders.
There is no other history, no other recorded account of the wars,
Wars which make enough of the history of mankind,
Wars, which next only to modern time's revolutions transformed
Wars, which every breathing individual wants to fight, a war
Self assertion might have other meaning, other faces of brutality
Valor, and war makes heroes shine, war extolled, mothers,
Their sons for war prepare, brides their grooms for war canvass,
And they who remain to bury them, speak Pericles's orations,
Epics are wars, wars, who win, then rule, wars who lose,
O tell me not the subjugates' woes, those who do not,
Offer themselves to collective suicide, war the psychosis, war,
The liberator, the maimed when return home, those not
Going to war, have been enjoying the freedom, suffragettes,
And they who were made prisoner, once a prisoner of war, said,
‘They would push the pans of molasses everyday, saying, a day gone',
With bitter shame, they their days count, their children shy.
And by the window we sat, after having gone through,
Through the centeric non achievable of the life's vain struggles,
Ending up in little houses of concrete, on broken street roads,
And if the brilliance of fellow humans, not rescued us, we would
Have given breathes, unknown, lost and to the far ages belonged.
Bring us two more cups of coffee, the window panes are cracking,
For next is the time to bang our heads against, break it down to pieces,
To the freshness of the mid-day's glare, and there by the leaves,
With our elongated shoes, crush into the waters' lushness of the greens,
Pluck the flowers, laugh unto it, and listen to the bird's lament,
Shake the walls, pick heavy stones, and jump across the stream
Of fresh and dirty soaped water, slowly walk down the limestone
Stairs, see your new car, touch its door, and smell the plastic mould
And see from the balcony, the squalor's view, but there is no life
Gleaming outside the mental of haze of forgotten dreams,
Surrealised, what if, we are given a chance to live again.
The proposition is tempting, but again it will turn out to be tiring,
Neither would ask for cloning, and might we donate eyes,
To some deserving blinds, grafted onto their sockets, visions deleted.
Somewhere in the subconscious, is pouring in thoughts,
To the best of things done, we might not repeat,
The girl who waved us from distance, who, who had made her eyes
Slant upward, had in a dinner asked me, ‘how are you sir! '
‘The food is very nice', I said. What else could be said,
Derelict of offering her a dance, for a dance is not in the ethos
And you may step upon a manhole, drowning you to the Hades,
And in hell, burned in fires, we poors have been given enough reasons,
For the non-doables, beneath the moral drama webbed around us,
And then rise again to see ourselves floating towards paradise.
And by the window we sat, finishing our cups of coffee,
And withdraw to the mundane, the inverter air conditioner,
Had kept the room warm, and my office telephone was ringing.
We decided to meet again, with a resolve not to see each other again.
-On a visit by my long time friend, Professor, Doctor Mansoor Akbar Kundi, Ex-Vice Chancellor Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan.
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