Agha Shahid Ali
Of Light - Poem by Agha Shahid Ali
At dawn you leave. The river wears its skin of light.
And I traced love’s loss to the origin of light.
“I swallow down the goodbyes I won’t get to use.”
At grief’s speed she waves from a palanquin of light.
My book’s been burned? Send me the ashes, so I can say:
I’ve been sent the phoenix in a coffin of light.
From History tears learn a slanted understanding
of the human face torn by blood’s bulletin of light.
It was a temporal thought. Well, it has vanished.
Will Promethus commit the mortal sin of light?
She said, “My name is icicles coming down from it…”
Did I leave it, somewhere, in a margin of light?
When I go off alone, as if listening for God,
there’s absolutely nothing I can win of light.
Now everything’s left to the imagination -
a djinn has deprived even Aladdin of light.
We’ll see Manhattan, a bride in diamonds, one day
abashed to remind her sweet man, Brooklyn, of light.
“A cheekbone, / A curved piece of brow, / A pale eyelid…”
And the dark eye I make out with all within of light.
Stranger, when the river leans toward the emptiness,
abandon, for my darkness, the thick and thin of light.
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