Tag Archive: afzal


A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

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Pandit-Ji*

1.

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

       _________________

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

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Gandhi-Ji …

1.

It was your beloved Jawaharlal* who uttered these words when you were gunned down by the agents of hate,

‘The light has gone out’, mourned Pandit – Ji*,

and indeed your life was snuffed out on that 30th day of a cold New Delhi January in 1948,

yet you live,

you live on,

a perennial thorn in the side of tyranny,

and the voice of the voiceless multitudes,

still scraping in garbage bins for a bite to eat.

2.

‘The world is big enough for everyone’s need, but it isn’t big enough for everyone’s greed’, you once said,

and Bapu*, your prophetic words ring true today,

in Soweto,

Diepsloot,

Chatsworth,

Gugulethu,

Alexandra,

and everywhere,

all the time.

3.

‘India gave us Mohandas, and we returned him to you as the Mahatma*’, said President Nelson Mandela,

Madiba was your son,
Martin Luther King Jr. as well,

and today your sons and daughters across this world,

look to you again,

in a world torn apart by sectarian strife,
bigotry, racism, religious intolerance, greed,

and Capitalism gone insane,

for as long as there are mouths that hunger to be fed,

for as long as there are naked bodies that need to be clothed,

for as long as your sons and daughters struggle for the very basics,

the 99%,

trodden-upon,
dignity stripped,
dreams tossed out into the sewers …

… we need your sanity,
we need your eternal flame to light our paths ahead,

we need you,

as the parched desert needs a shower of rain,

we need you!

and we need to,

remember that we are all human,

if we are to build a new world,

less cruel,

and more humane …

       _______________

* – Mahatma or ‘Great Soul’

* – October 2nd is the birth anniversary of MK Gandhi

* – The first Prime Minister of independent India was Jawaharlal Nehru,  also called Pandit-Ji,  and endearingly Chacha Nehru

* – Bapu means father and Gandhi-Ji was often referred to as Bapu or Bapu-Ji

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Vincent & Ludwig – 1

Vincent and Ludwig…

“Do you know, my dear Ludwig, that I’ve sold just one of my paintings?”

“Yes, Vincent, do not despair, my friend, they cannot, will not, fathom the flower that reveals its petals before their eyes”

“I suppose you are right, old friend. They cannot, will not, hear your ‘Ode to Joy’, though it is you who are deaf!”

“But my dear Vincent, you do hear my ‘Ode to Joy’, deep in your soul”

“Yes, I hear it, I feel it, Ludwig, flowing like liquid paint through the canvas of my veins”

“My dear Vincent, I too feel your brush-strokes, and in each swirl of colour I hear your joy, and I can touch your pain”

“What does that make us, my friend? Two men cast adrift on the bluest seas, leaving nothing behind, yet heading nowhere. What does that make us then?”, asks Vincent.

“Human”, replies Ludwig, smiling.

“Human, yes, dear Ludwig”.

“And that is enough”, says Ludwig, almost to himself.

“It is enough”, smiles Vincent.

“To be human. It is enough.”

Vincent laughs, as Ludwig watches a gentle wave caress their toes, through their tattered shoes.

scribblerofverses@gmail.com

For Wendy Cope ( b. 1945)

For Wendy Cope
(b. 1945)

(Inspired by her poems ‘Bloody Men’ and ‘Flowers’)

1.

I may not have brought you flowers.

I know I was always late.

You tolerated my moodiness,
and my ever-increasing weight.

2.

You said men were like buses,

and you had grown weary of waiting,

Of putting up with my quirks and my fusses,

though we barely knew we were dating.

3.

Ah, but we weathered the squalls;

Your patience has always been saintly.

And now that old age palls,

our tiffs are recalled only faintly.

4.

We laugh at youth’s follies and know,

the beauty we had sought unaware;

It’s as wide as a calm river’s flow,

and as timeless as our years of care.

(Inspired by Wendy Cope’s poems ‘Bloody Men’ and ‘Flowers’)

Spartaco Fontanot

D-Day June 6, 1944 …

Mowed down by lead spewing from Nazi machine guns,

Young men sliced on the the beaches of Normandy,

Blood stained the salty sea crimson,

Torn limbs and lifeless bodies scattered along Juno, Gold, and Omaha beach,

Young men, shredded by shrapnel,

Holding the line,

Inch by blood-soaked inch,

As the fascist juggernaut was brought down to its knees,

And still the fight raged on,

From the eastern front to the acts of valour,

Carried out by partisans in the name of freedom from the jackboot of Nazism,

There was a young man called Spartaco Fontanot and I end this poem with a letter he wrote to his mother :

Dear Mum*,

Of all people I know you are the one that will feel it most, so my very last thoughts go to you. Don’t blame anyone else for my death, because I myself chose fate.

I don’t know what to write to you, because, even though I have a clear head, I can’t find the right words.

I took my place in the Army of Liberation, and I die as the light of victory is already beginning to shine … I shall be shot very shortly with twenty three other comrades.

After the war you must claim your rights to a pension. They will let you have my things at the jail, only I am keeping Dad’s undervest, because I don’t want the cold to make me shiver…

Once again I say goodbye.

Courage!

Your son.
Spartaco

(Spartaco Fontanot, metalworker, twenty-two years old,member of the French Resistance group of ‘Misak Manouchian’, 1944)

* – from Eric Hobsbawn’s book ‘Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914 – 1991′

Port of Call

Port of Call
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
with the breath of the ocean a caressing balm,
soothing pained memories away,
to the swaying of a solitary palm.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
feeling the brushing away of all past turmoil,
on a quest for solace, ever so hard to find,
yet comforted by the crashing of the waves,
as the tide cleanses all pain,
and leaves despair far, far behind.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
drenched in a sea-breeze of mist,
that hushes the ache of bygone moons,
tasting the salty tang on my lips,
as the burnished sun,
over the distant horizon,
swoons,
 
and dips.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
searching, ever searching,
for a slice of solitude,
as memory bids a final adieu,
reaching under the sea so vast,
and seeking comfort in the depths,
while embracing,
the tomorrows to come,
wishing that they be true.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
seeing my truths drown,
as they slip beneath the turquoise waters,
 
feeling my heart ablaze,
with a passion that rarely falters.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
yet knowing that I am home at long last,
wishing the waves would wash away,
the defences that once stood,
like an impregnable wall.
 
 
Barefoot on a talcum beach,
 
alone, not lonely,
 
I have found, at long last,
 
my final port of call.

Pandit-Ji* – A Poem for Jawaharlal Nehru

 

1.

 

The moon cast an enveloping shadow over the teeming multitudes,

as they made their tryst with destiny**,

with you as the bearer of the light,

and at the stroke of the midnight hour,

you emerged an icon, from the long and desolate night.

Long years had passed,
since those humid evenings spent,
languishing in jail,

yet your mind remained unshackled,
putting words on paper in the dim candlelight,

as the gaudy glare of empire began to pale.

 

2.

Today,
you live,

within us,
though not amongst us,

and,

your discovery,
your glimpses,

smoulder within me,

your immortal words,
my compass.

I am now,
the soul of nations,
once suppressed,

that have,
found utterance.

I am now,
me.

I am now,
finally,

free.

 

 

* – ‘Pandit-Ji’ was the name that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, was respectfully called.

** – excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech on 15th August 1947

In the solitary depth of night,

as dreams whisper forgotten lies,

memories murmur,
desires nibble,
passions simmer,

between the embers,
of sweetly burnt eyes.

As dawn’s breath cascades,

skimming over the borders of my hapless heart,

my eyes finally surrendering to slumber, peaceful and deep,

leaving me,

to dream of you,

dreaming,  asleep.

Walking in Gaza

Walking in Gaza …

Walking amidst the rubble,

a mother wails.

The bloodied rags that once clothed her six year old daughter reeks of caked blood,
stale urine,

death.

Walking amidst the rubble,

a father weeps.

The shelling reducing the home to bits of this and bits of that,
burnt flesh,
charred memories,

death.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the smouldering school,

the bombed – out hospital,

the blood running into the sewers,

now clogged with emptiness.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the savage fallout,

in – between the mangled homes,

the shuttered bazaars,

Hope lives.

Hope breathes.

Hope soars.

Walking in Gaza,

the resistance to tyranny holds firm,

as it has,

as it always will,

as it always must!

Amandla Intifada!

The struggles continue…

NOSTALGIA: My Family: A Historical Journey Through the Seasons – Part 2 by Afzal Moola, Johannesburg, South Africa.

For Dr Maya Angelou
(1928 – 2014)

Vanquished by the day one may be,
Beaten down by the barren night.

Faltering at times,
at times upright.

Still one stands.
One still fights.

For though one falls,
One must rise*

*this scribble of mine was inspired by the poem ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou

For Tony Benn
( 1925 – 2014 )

You have not passed silently into the coming night,

your conscience towers above the brittle edifice of capital and of greed,

for as long as there remain hungry mouths to feed,

your soul is enmeshed within our collective whole.

You have not passed silently into the coming night.

Your battle is done,

the war!

the war is far from won!

So we pick up your scarlet standard,

and we continue to rattle the foundations at No. 10,

though today,

today,

we pause,

today we say,

‘Hamba Kahle’*,

to you,

our comrade,

our leader,

our towering ‘Big Benn’.

for Anthony Neil Wedgwood “Tony” Benn.

(3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014)

* – ‘Hamba Kahle’ means ‘go well’ in isiXhosa/isiZulu

Afloat on the River

Afloat on the rivers of life,

rootless at times,‎

bogged down in the mire,

at times a lonesome twig cast into the depths of despair,

a vagabond sans destination, sans care. ‎

The tides have washed me,

hither and thither,

never knowing where I would finally rest,

till you held my heart in your tender hands,

clasping it closer to your breast. ‎


All the while gentle ripples have steered me away from desolation,

breathing new purpose,

igniting fresh promise,

reaching around me,
enveloping my soul,

oh yes, ’tis you,

who has carried me through. 

It is only now that I know,

you are the river upon which I sail,

your love the wind at my back,

your presence a comforting respite from the detritus of the shallows,

while quietly you carry me,

towards the passionate streams of the lagoon,

rescuing me,

liberating my heart,

from the noose of the once omnipresent  gallows…

 

Inflamed by my wildly fiery desire,

I kiss the fluttering petals of your soft, sumptuous lips.

I tease you,

my ravenous tongue sipping the glistening, molten drops of alluring morning dew.

Inflamed by my wildly fiery desire,

I make love to you,

in my dreams of passion,

my dreams of sensual seduction,

dreams of our erotic confluence,

painting, sketching, dousing my dreams in colours of my naked desire:

burnished copper-red.

scorching scarlet-rose.

achingly beautiful crimson.

Inflamed by my wildly fiery desire,

I dream of you,

dreaming of making sweet, agonisingly delicious love to me,

and in this dreamscape of irresistible vistas,

I see your face.

And I dream,

I dream of you and I entwined in ecstatic bliss,

and together we find the place,

the only place we passionately ache to be:

in each others’ arms.

Eternally.

Mandela in Kerala

Madiba in Kerala.

A comrade from the southern Indian state of Kerala shared the following anecdote with my father sometime in the mid-1980’s in New Delhi …

… On a trip to his home state of Kerala, the comrade said,

“…I was on a small fishing boat with some other comrades, we were going to an anti-Apartheid meeting that had been organised in a small town.

During the course of the boat ride, I kept hearing the boat-man’s voice, as he was singing, and quite loudly too, a song in Malayalam,

And I kept hearing what sounded like the name ‘Mandela’, over and over again,

So I asked the boat-man who or what this ‘Mandela’ was?

“You come from the city, and YOU don’t know who MANDELA is?

The Paths we Weave

The Paths we Weave …

Walking alone,

on these meandering paths this life weaves,

weathering the nudges and the tugs of destiny and of fate,

I have walked alone for many a mile,

but not today,

for today,

I weave through alleyways of solitude,

rinsing my cobwebbed memories,

seeking to steer my path,

gently,

so that this pathway of life may lead me to you,

where my only hope is that I am not too late,

as I place my soul at your hearts’ gate …

A Monday Wish

A Monday Wish …

As soothing as the glistening dew of this freshly-scented dawn,

as brightly blazing as the sunbeams drizzling over this enveloping morn,

my wish for you is simple,

my wish for you is true:

happiness,
peace,
health,

and the feeling of being safely cocooned,

contented and soaking in the soft glow of everlasting love,

that may always keep you warm,

today,

tomorrow,

and in all your morrows,

yet to be born …

Choosing to be Human…

We may choose,

to trudge down life’s pathways alone,

barricading our fragile hearts,

behind ramparts of stone…

We may choose,

to stow our emotions away,

shielding our weary souls,

from the promises of a new day …

We may choose,

to never be hurt again,

safely enveloping our fatigued selves,

tucked away from loves’ pleasures and its pain …

or,

we may choose to be human,

leaping into the cauldron of countless unborn tomorrows,

inviting loves’ soothing balm,

and perhaps,

caressing  away a few of our lonesome sorrows …

and so,

we shall choose to be human,

lowering the defences hewn from bitter experiences pummelled with pain,

as we welcome love into the deepest recesses of our being,

nourishing each other while gently letting go of yesteryears’ stinging pain. 

Chocolatey Dreams…

under a breath of dark chocolatey desire,

the furnace re-ignites dormant dreams.

Dreams dreamed,

basking in a warm cocooned glow,

as you so effortlessly,

set my soul so scorchingly afire…

things she said…

‘smile’, she said with a wink,

‘smile’.

I smiled.

‘kiss me’, she said, pulling me close to her cinnamon lips.

‘kiss me’.

I kissed her.

‘I’m happy’, she whispered, her warm breath in my ear.

‘I am whole’, I whispered to her,

and to myself.

‘I am whole’.

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