Muhammad Shanazar

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

The Old Man In The Canyon - Poem by Muhammad Shanazar

I sought for Him on the whole roundity of the world,
On the stretched sand of the deserts, dusting the eyes,
Along the banks of the flowing hissing curvy rivers,
In the populated metropolitan cities, towns and villages,
On the green pastures, lush valleys and deep forests,
In the heaven kissing mountains of Himalayan ranges,
In the moonlit golden nights, in the silvery bright days,
Under the folds of darkness, in the feathers of light,
And enquired after Him from the tired weary mariners,
Who made lengthy voyages ransacking the seven seas;
But no footprint of Him was traced and depressed I sat.

Ah! One day wanderlust took me amid the Northern hills,
At the webbed opening of a subterranean dark cave,
And curiosity led me in and what I did see there, hark!
There in the murky, gloomy, dismal canyon I found,
A faintly breathing exhausted strengthless old man,
With overgrown, dishevelled and withering grey hair,
He had deep eyes covered with thick rough brows,
Profound wrinkles like furrows creased on his visage,
He wore tattered trousers, rend sleeveless dingy shirt,
On filthy dark skin of the body, his liquorice like bones,
Seemed to be wrapped with thickblack sheet of polythene,
His feet had slits, slots like dry parched surface of the land.

I jerked him and He sat with the tiresome movement,
As someone rises breaching ajar the stones of grave,
Looked staring at me as He recalled the memory back,
He brought a false, fake smile on the parched lips,
And to my question He responded, made me reply,
“The world is too cold to go out, I feel warm here,
I eat leaves, grass and lick dust when belly torments me,
Often take rain water or drink from the stagnant pools,
For half a century I have neither taken a bath,
Nor washed the face, my plight is worse than a beggar,
I am disappointed, depressed, pray to God for my death.”

He recounted his tale while the shining tears rolled down,
From both the corners of his eyes, and he began to sob.
I remained stunned, remembered that once He had been,
“Mr. Justice”; but now his breathing strengthless carcass.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poem Edited: Wednesday, October 20, 2010


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