Tag Archive: Strain


Africa Day.

The African Winds.

By Afzal Moolla.
25th May 2021.

I am the winds of Africa.

I am the winds whispered to by the ancients of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela,

the winds that have heard the murmurs of the ancestors at Great Zimbabwe.

I am the winds resting at Mapungubwe,
I am the winds of the Upemba,
I am the winds above Giza,

I am the winds of the Djenné-Djenno,
I am the winds of the Songhai,

I am the winds of the Numidia,

I have breathed across these lands,
these lands have breathed into me.

I have witnessed colonialists carving up my continent,

I have heard screams of mothers and children,

I have seen the slave-ships set sail,

I carry the memories of my people manacled, and bound in chains.

I have heard the shrieks of my people,
I have seen my lands plundered,

I have borne witness to genocide,
to notions of racial superiority,
to oppression,
to tyranny,

I have caressed far too many bruised bodies,
I have dried far too many tears.

I am the winds of Africa.

I embrace the hope my people carry,
I feel it thud-thudding in their veins,

I encompass my lands bathed with renewed spirit each dawn,

I encompass my lands infused with hope each morn,

as my Africa,
our Africa,
wraps us in her dazzling multi-hued, comforting shawl.



copyleft afzal moolla 2021.

Are you fine, they well-meaningly ask.

Well here’s How I “really” feel at times …

“I am fine”.

no i am not fine,

i am as fine as a dung dusted shoe is from a shine,

i am not fine, i am lost, between alluring dreams, and silent screams,

sometimes a duet,

mostly a cacophony of noise,

white and bland and dull,

just enough to discern, that humanity is null,

with all humaneness void,

and of all conscience devoid.

Delhi. A Funeral Pyre.

Delhi. A Funeral Pyre.

by her child with no name.

And as I sit here today, these countless waves away,

my Delhi, into whose mad, warm, gritty, welcoming arms I fell on that early autumn day,

is welcoming no more.

And as I sit here today with relief, that from her I am so far torn apart,

my Delhi, whose diyas of light that once lit up my heart,

is a funeral pyre.

And as I sit here today, just another child of hers with no name,

I breathe,
I can breathe.

And even as my mother chokes, the stench of relief that I feel,

of being from her so very far,
this vagabond child of hers with no name,

breathes with relief,

to his eternal, asphyxiating shame.

life now …

clutching, grasping,
holding onto,
gulping down, hungrily,
each breath, every breath,
fearing the onset of the years,
the splinters of time,
embedding,
piercing,
this moment, the very now,
numbed by repetition,
embalmed by trepidation,
of tomorrows yet to dawn,
suspiciously sifting through the strands of greying hair,
seeking clues,
the because to the whys,
the slow mornings,
restless nights,
jabbing reminders,
as years, decades,
scurry, scamper,
flee,
feeling it all slipping away,
standing, immobile,
stilled by the implacable sentinels at the doorstep,
these immovable sentries,
concealing the door,
that leads to today …

Victor Jara 1932 – 1973.

Victor Jara
1932 – 1973.

Trampled flowers sighed,
while your songs filled the skies.

All of nature trembled,
from the pampas to the desert sands,

the day they tried to silence your song.

That day,

all of nature rebelled,
each filament, all infinite strands,

for though they tried to strangle your song,

all that they could take,
were your hands.

an oldie: The African Rains

The African Rains.

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,
even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

adrift …

a cast-away,
swept by raging currents,
adrift on so many  streams.

an outsider,
scarred by jagged rocks,
gasping for air beneath rapids.

a lost traveller,
seeking a shore of solace,
between decades being flotsam.

my journey,
all endless wanderings,
as rootless as the shattered twig.

my future,
a mirage of hope,

tight fists of trepidation,

seeking not much,
but to clutch onto,

filaments of elusive hope …

Sentinels.

Sentinels.

Behind the barricades, tucked away beyond the layers of the impregnable buffer,

secreted in the unshakeable edifice, hewn deep into the rock of solitude,

countless thoughts blur, hazily scurrying past,
adrift on the breeze, yesteryears embers that cannot last.

These embers, these flurries of memory, escape high above the ramparts of this fortress of stunted, shackled thought,

fleeing the fears, the tears streaming down eyes unblinking, eyes devoid of light, eyes rendered blind, leaving grainy photographs etched in the receding mind.

All these memories, this nostalgic tugging, sewn into the detritus of what was once beloved, of what was once dear and true,

all those sun-kissed moments, once woven by infinite tendrils of hope, lie strewn here and there, and everywhere in between, all those dreams now merely flotsam and jetsam, thrashed upon the waves of the ocean so jagged, so stinging, yet so boundless in its shades of aquamarine blue.

Yet there exists, in folded recesses, layered in shrouds, wrapped in papyrus,

armoured sentinels, mutely grasping, onto all that was once all of you, onto all that was once all of me,

armoured sentinels,

standing guard,
fiercely protecting against forgetting,

fierce sentinels,
holding firm onto the persistence of memory.

The Divergence of Time …

The divergence of time …

There may have been a time,
when tributaries flowed hither and thither.

There may have been a time,
when forks along the paths spread here, there and everywhere.

There may have been a time,
when currents tugged heartstrings strummed in discordant rhyme.

There may have been a time,

one time, one moment,
ever so fleeting,

when clarity was torn asunder.

There may have been times,
a few, some moments,
ever so fleeting,

when hopes and dreams coalesced,
for that filament of time.

There may have been times,
across decades, imperceptible seconds,

when all seemed concrete,
when all seemed complete,

ah, but illusions are phantoms,
just out of reach,

as intangible in the gale,
as elusive to grasp,

as many a yesteryears newspaper sheet.

… and when this shroud,
the skin we moult,

traversing eons, sipping kisses, lapping tongues,
mingled meadows of scarlet red,

the standard waves amidst,

the smoke, the swollen pollen, detritus of ills scarcely-forgotten,

to flutter on the ramparts,
aloft, again,

for the pot simmers,
and the light of hope glimmers …

You …

You …

You have soothed the stinging nettles away,
your breath a balm,
your whispers soft as the oceans’ spray.

You have unmasked the spurious charade,
your hair a canopy,
your love so gentle as the delicate shade.

You have settled within my very core so deep,
your lips my chalice,
your kisses waking me from my fitful sleep.

You inhabit the largest part of my being entire,
your soul my wellspring,
your arms offer respite from the muck and the mire.

You inflame the passions I thought were all dead and speared,
your touch a furnace,
your presence a blazing dawn with all encroaching cobwebs cleared.

You transform each desolate night into a tapestry of light,
your eyes lift the veil of darkness,
your fierce desire envelopes me warm and tight.

You were my lifeline in the maelstrom in which I helplessly swirled,
your arms my anchors,
your incandescent sun the constant around which I whirled,

your truth a shield against all rocks hurled,

your trust an embracing shawl so effortlessly unfurled,

you,
my life,

you,
my exquisite world.

CopyLeft 2021

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