The Fleeting Star

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I see you in moon’s,
I see you in star’s light,
as their glimmer blankets
the roads, homes, valleys
and ceaseless sky…
Reciprocating the eyes
seeking to extinguish darkness with light
“I am yours, just –
slip your fingers into mine…”

I see you in waves
I see you in tides,
as they run across the miles
and dance on bed of sea
infinite…
Reciprocating to the wind
that takes them into an arm
“I am yours, just –
slip your fingers into mine…”

I see you in rains,
I see you in cloud’s sigh,
that falls across the land
and holds under its spell
the magic infinite…
Reciprocating to the skies
that caresses them tight
“I am yours, just –
slip your fingers into mine…”

I see you in lows,
I see you in highs,
the ranges that are spread
atop the river’s spine,
as far as they see, the naked eyes…
Reciprocating to the sight
that chases it beyond all lines
“I am yours, just –
slip your fingers into mine…”

I see you in dreams,
I see you in rhymes,
those moments that carry
the poems sublime, with which
you compose symphony of life.
Reciprocating each heart beat,
tracing silage, for last location and sign,
“I am yours, just –
slip your fingers into mine…”

But you’re not here… my love,
you’re in my mind,
as a silhouette left
after the Sun has drowned.
– A light, that lingers,
even after star has ventured
far away.

In each moment that
I come closer,
I try to make you mine…
But you slip…
from my embrace
like I am trying to hold
a water or sand
too tight…

You’re a happiness that I find,
amidst a time when
one moment lapses onto another…
right at those intersections
where one line meets the other
to complete a circle.
And as much as I want
that moment to last,
I still find myself in void
after I loose your trail…
fortunately often
with moist on my lips to tell,
infinite did kiss the finite.

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– Dedicated to those infinities that every finite wants to hold on to, for as long as possible…

Image Credits:
1. Beach Photography – wallpaper (webneel.com)
2. Ocean Rain – Stock wallpaper

Paper Boats

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One day I saw,
a person from my window.
A man double my age,
walking down an opposite lane,
wearing a black rain coat,
amidst the hot day’s temp…

He stood beside a pole,
started looking down a road…
Perhaps, he was waiting for
someone to be there,
or may be, it’s where
his ride was to stop.

Day after day, I saw him
repeating all the same,
came no ride to take him,
nor came any friend.
I wondered what was it about
that made him stick
to a single frame.

And then one day he broke
his pattern all same…
He did show up to be there,
but could no longer stand.
He sat there still,
till an eve’s end,
even when his body started
showing signs of pain.

What would mount up
I wondered,
to such a resilience.
Though, I lived my life
across the docks,
yet never saw any person
pulling an act like that…

Like a novice, who spent
majority of his life at pier,
watching boats all day,
making to and forth in circles…
It was hard to see a man,
not showing pedigree of passengers,
but instead a sign of a carriage.

One day he didn’t budge
from its posture,
he’s still as a milestone,
for the whole long day…
Curious, I ventured close,
to see if he’s doing well,
I found him having, apparently
his last few breaths…

He did notice my presence
in his surrounding, and
hinted me to give him a hand.
He pulled me closer to self,
with little energy he had left.
And uttered few words in my ear,
that hardly made any sense.

I saw smile in his eyes,
like a glittering silver fountain,
as if, of a soldier that has won
all fights, all the battles…
Till I saw that shine began
to gradually faint,
before I could register
it was a parting stance.

As he died, I felt,
I had lost a friend,
yet I reflected, I knew nothing
much about that man.
In few moments, I noticed
he had something
enclosed in his hands,
A paper in his fists,
something tightly clenched.

It was a letter written,
perhaps, with a red fountain:
“I’ll be there my love, with you,
for we have to follow what
we weaved,
and dance once again in a rain
that made us fall for each other
at drizzling…
I know you’ll be waiting!”

I recalled, I used to think,
one day I would become
an architect of a vessel,
that may offer wanderer
a ride to the destined place.
Little did I feel before
that man was a vessel too
for a soul’s fate.

It was then, I realized,
he waited for the beloved,
like a kid,
who after creating a paper boat,
drops it into a puddle of water –
standing still after the rain,
looking out for the wind,
wishing it to be sailed…

How few of us ever know
that a promise, the journey,
matters more
than an eventual place.
That it’s attempts that make us
know the love’s true strength.

Suddenly, sky started to cry,
like it was too attending a funeral.
I don’t know whether it was
to greet or to bid him farewell.
Right with noise of first thunder,
his last words started to make sense…
“Dream, create, rejoice…
Don’t leave stones unturned!”

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– Dedicated to my maternal grand dad: Mr. Sadruddin Sohani (who passed away two days ago, loosing his fight with Cancer, but winning a war called “life” – by spending it like a King, till the very last moment).

Image Credits:
1. ‘The Harbour’ by Aminah Tasleem.
2. ‘Together’ by Arefin03 (Deviantart).

How would one reveal (Koi yeh kaise bataye)

– Another ghazal from one of my favorite Hindi films, no-nonsense and art-house cinema masterpiece: Arth (1982) by film-maker Mahesh Bhatt. Rendition presented above is part of a film, performed by non other than Ghazal maestro: Jagjit Singh.
Special thing to note about video of song is, Shabana Aazmi (the daughter of Ghazal’s original poet) is so brilliant in her character performance that with her understated emotions, she manages to out match all artists in a frame together. Mesmerizingly, her eyes alone precipitate poetry more sharper than words…

How could one
deserted to wilderness
ever express,
what banality is such?
Or show how one who
bonded at once,
is estranged now forever,
for what adversity is such?

If such happens to be
a manner of this world,
I wonder,
what civility is such?
If this is the way it
happens to be,
it’s supposed to be,
what destiny is such?

On mere a single step’s reach,
our hands would tangle…
In beloved’s chest
echo they’d make loud,
my heart-beats restless.
When this much is a state of proximity,
then what an animosity is such?

From wilderness of the heart,
one has yet not escaped totally…
Visiting an abandoned nest,
someone still keeps humming…
For one whom hopes have diminished,
if yet keeps dreaming,
what propensity is such?

Call it what you may,
a bond of happiness,
or an ensemble of sadness…
They do say: “Bond of love,
is one that is forever,
one that is ceaseless”…
If lasting forever is
bar of true essence,
then, what contrariety is such?

– Dedicated to unsolved riddles…

Koi ye kaise bataye k wo tanha kyun hai
woh jo apna tha aaj kisi ka kyun hai,
yehi duniya hai to phir aisi yeh duniya kyun hai
yehi hota hai to phir aisa hota kyun hai.

ik zara haath barha lain to paker lay daman
uss k seenay main sama jai humari darhkan
itni qurbat hay to phir faasla itna kuun hay

dil-e-barbaad se nikla nahi ab tak koi
ik lutay ghar pay dia kerta hay dastak koi
aas jo toot gai phir se bandhata kuun hay

Tum masarat ka kaho isay ya ghum ka rishta
kehtay hein pyaar ka rishta hai janam ka rishta
hai janam ka jo yeh rishta to badalta kyun hai?

– Original poem by Indian Urdu poet and lyricist: Kaifi Azmi

Urdu version:

کوئی یہ کیسے بتائے کہ وہ تنہا کیوں ہے
وہ جو اپنا تھا وہی اور کسی کا کیوں ہے
یہی دُنیا ہے تو پِھر ایسی یہ دُنیا کیوں ہے
یہی ہوتا ہے، تو آخر یہی ہوتا کیوں ہے

ایک ذرا ہاتھ بڑھا دیں تو پکڑ لیں دامن
اس کے سینے میں سما جائے ہماری دھڑکن
اتنی قُربت ہے تو پِھر فاصلہ اِتنا کیوں ہے

دلٍ برباد سے نِکلا نہیں اب تک کوئی
ایک لُٹے گھر پہ دیا کرتے ہے دستک کوئی
آس جو ٹُوٹ گئی پِھر سے بندھاتا کیوں ہے

تم مسرّت کا کہو یا اِسے غم کا رِشتہ
کہتے ہیں پیار کا رشتہ ہے جنم کا رِشتہ
ہے جنم کا جو یہ رِشتہ تو بدلتا کیوں ہے

# کیفی اعظمی –

Excellent cover by a young talent who goes by name of Himalayan Hermit:

An unplugged harmonium only rendition by Vishal Joshi:

The Void

Shahi Qilla Lahore

Waiting for a lost echo to return again…

I search you in
the ruins of an ancient
civilization, buried for long.
Like you’re an old treasure
hidden still behind the debris.

I search you in
the rubbed off writings of
the letters left.
Like you’re in a text that
moonlights as clues and hints.

I search you in
the walls of the sanctuaries
like you’re some direction
inscripted to elevate
the soul’s miseries.

I search you in
the windows of the long minarets,
surrounding the palace like guards.
Like you’re peeking through them
as bright light or bird impatient.

I search you in
the fumes of the silage left behind
after an uncalled separation.
Like you’re in the traces
of wind that rules the place.

I search you in
the pools gone dry for years, yet
craving to mirror the starlit canvas.
Like you’re in residue of layers,
where celestial bodies overcast
their net of shadows.

I search for you.
I search for my belongings
that parted along you.
Leaving here everything
but life…

– Dedicated to the relics and the void with in frames.

Art Reference: Shahi Qilla, Lahore, Pakistan

Image Credits: Flickr.com

Eyes gazed down are yearning or not? (Jhuki jhuki si nazar beqaraar hai ke nahin?)

Translation:

Those concealed eyes are in longing, or not?
Though repressed inside the heart – love it is, or not?

You count your heart-beats and reveal me a secret
Like mine – your heart too is restless…  or not?

That moment in which love reaches its pinnacle,
You keep yearning for such one moment…  or not?

I’m distancing and dismissing whole world in your hope,
You too possess this much belief in yourself… or not?

– Dedicated of course to the concealed eyes…

The ghazal is from one of my favorite Hindi films, no-nonsense and art-house cinema masterpiece: Arth (1982) by film-maker Mahesh Bhatt. Rendition presented above is part of a film sung by non other than Ghazal maestro: Jagjit Singh.

jhuki jhuki si nazar beqaraar hai ke nahin
daba daba sa sahee dil mein pyaar hai ke nahin

tu apne dil ki jawaan dhadkanon ko gin ke bata
meri tarah tera dil beqaraar hai ke nahin

wo pal ke jis mein mohabbat jawaan hoti hai
us ek pal ka tujhe intezaar hai ke nahin

teri umeed pe thukraa raha hoon duniya ko
tujhe bhee apne pe ye aitbaar hai ke nahin

– The original lyrics are penned by one of the greatest Indian Urdu poet: Kaifi Azmi

Such potent combination of talented people, with such rigorous emotions and eloquent expression, one that touches the paramount of perfection are rare sight indeed. They’re made to be eternal – to be cherished forever – till the consciousness remains.

I hate you too…

Following is a response poem, for Maria Imran‘s wonderful piece: 10 Reasons Why I Hate You.

“It’s not just you… I hate you too…”

I hate you because:
you write words that I want to hear,
but along come moments difficult to bear.

I hate you because:
you make it seem everything’s normal,
but I know I’m anything but.

I hate you because:
you comprehend what remains unsaid,
and that makes you the one irreplaceable.

I hate you because:
you satiate the desire of my thirst,
knowing I’ll always quench for more.

I hate you because:
you know my weakness, yet accept me,
making me wonder, “what would I be without you?”

I hate you because:
you make all what’s impossible a possible for me,
leaving one possibility – an impossible for me.

I hate you because:
world keeps spinning when I’m thinking of you,
words betray their essence when it comes to you.

– Dedicated to those who say they do hate, while in reality can do anything but that.

Note: Why response? – Because my master taught me, the best way to appreciate an art is to create a response for it. This is how art multiplies its effect, not just that it acquires a life of its own, but it also lends it to someone else. Sometimes it becomes a lot more than what the previous artist desired.

The Cipher

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Reading a cipher;
with deep down having an unforged,
an impermeable intention;
urging you not to.
Not to resolve…
I may not like what I find out about her…
Or worst I may dread the boredom that follows
after getting over.
In all cases something is for sure,
I’m going to end up regretting.

But there’s this strange aura
that surrounds her…
you like or not, but you can’t ignore…
the irresistibility…
the temptation that constantly lingers.
The desirability that it summons…
The intrigue that it develops…
The curiosity that it conspires inside…
Forcing you to circle around;
like planets do for stars in constellations.
Waiting for her to reveal something,
that leads you to somewhere…
where path is untraceable,
and destiny remains unknown.

I disclose,
I have no idea of “the code”,
nor do I have a kinship
with pliers or the code breakers….
All I had was my passion,
my fear along intuition;
curse, even that was bi-polar.
If there’s a key,
it lies within her.
To unravel or not,
for each has to be without breaking her.

– Dedicated to a mystery that piques one’s curiosity yet deserves to remain unresolved…

Image Reference: One of the great stories with equally awesome rendition on screen: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, with stellar cast: Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig; Directed by an auteur: “David Fincher”.