Tag Archive: woman




Today we rise.


No more hiding in the shadows,


of culture,

creed,

tradition.




No more silent complicity,

disingenuous arguments,

hypocritical pretences,

shabby excuses for the actions of men,



brutal,
vulgar,
coarse,
obscene,
murderous,
abusive men.




Today, we rise,

as one.




Today the change starts,

with me,

within me.




With you.

Within you.




Today WE Rise!








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she walks alone









she walks alone.

barefoot in the paddies of rice,


breaking her back for some precious grains.





she walks alone,


in jo’burg town, with a black eye,


abused by him the previous painful night.





she walks alone,


in the streets of neon hazed manila,



along the decaying hedges of rotten london,



on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,



across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,



over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,



on the glittering pavements of sickeningly ostentatious jeddah,




through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.





she walks alone,


bearing the burden of mother and daughter,


of cook and sweeper,


of wife and mistress,


and always inhumane mans punching-bag.





she walks alone,


through your streets and mine,


standing up as she is beaten down,


loving a lot as the bruises on her face turn purple,



feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.





she walks alone,


in factories and in mills and in buses,


in schools and in brothels and in horrific places in-between.




she walks alone,


staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,


violated by those who from the pulpit preach.





she walks alone,


my sister and yours,


my mother and yours too,


my lover and your beloved as well.





she walks alone,


caged by society in its invisible prison,


a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste.





she walks alone,


but she is the conscience of me and you,


screaming at us silently in hunger and despair.





she walks alone,


and though fearful of all you callous men she may seem,


be warned that she shall not be this alone,


she too dreams and thinks and believes,


she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,


in the silent night of complacency,

while impotent mankind sleeps,


she too is rising and in rising she will slay,


the beasts that in your men’s hearts prowl and lay.




she too will demand her rightful place,



for every mother, sister, daughter, wife, lover,



has a real, human face.







​Today we rise.


No more hiding in the shadows,


of culture,

creed,

tradition.


No more silent complicity,


defensive arguments,

sickening pretences,

shabby excuses,


for the actions of men,


brutal and coarse and vulgar and obscene and murderous and abusive men.


Today, we rise,


as one.


Today the change starts,


with me,

within me.


with you.

within you.



Today we rise.

​thanking all at Conceit Magazine for having me on the cover of the January/February/March 2017 Issue.

Volume 7, Number 71.

Thank you, Editor Perry Terrell!
Conceit Magazine, 

Perry Terrell, Editor,

P.O. Box 884223,

San Francisco, CA,

94188-4223


conceitmagazine@yahoo.com

​she walks alone,


barefoot in the paddies of rice,


breaking her back for some precious grains.


she walks alone,


in jo’burg town, with a black eye,


smacked around by him the previous painful night.


she walks alone,


in the streets of neon hazed manila,

in the villages and in the small towns,


along the pristine hedges of rotten london,


on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

in the alleyways of twisted and rotten karachi,


across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,


over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,


on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented sick jeddah,


through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.


she walks alone,


bearing the burden of mother and daughter

of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,


she walks alone,


through your streets and mine,


standing up as she is beaten more down,


loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,


feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.


she walks alone,


in factories and in mills and in buses,


in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.


she walks alone,


staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,


violated by those who from the pulpit preach.


she walks alone,


my sister and yours,


my mother and yours too,


my lover and your beloved as well.


she walks alone,


caged by society in its invisible prison,


a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,


she walks alone,


but she is the conscience of me and you,


screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,


she walks alone,


and though fearful of you men she may seem,


be warned that she may not forever be this alone,


for she too dreams and thinks and believes,


for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,


in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,


and she too will rise and in rising slay,


the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,


and she too will demand her rightful place,


for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

International Womens Day

She Walks Alone …

she walks alone,
barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

smacked around by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the pristine hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter
of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten more down,

loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,

she walks alone,

and though fearful of you men she may seem,

be warned that she may not forever be this alone,

for she too dreams and thinks and believes,

for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,

and she too will rise and in rising slay,

the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,

and she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

my wishes are simple,
desires few,
gazing upon a leaf,
nourished by dew.

my wishes are simple,
dreams hardly grand,
hearing birdsong in the desert,
together, hand in hand.

my wishes are simple,
my heart calm,
resting with you ‘neath the palm,

years rattling bones,
wrinkling skin,
greying our hair,
ever so thin.

my wishes are simple,
walking in the rain,

leaning on each other,
through life’s joy, pain … … …

For Men Everywhere …

For Men Everywhere …

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

Stop!

Stop the abuse!

Of grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Listen!

Listen to the voices!

Of grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Think!

Think of how you treat,

grand-daughters,
colleagues,
daughters,
girlfriends,
partners,
mothers,
sisters,
nieces,
wives,

all women.

Act!

Act now to change yourself!

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

stops when you stop,

the violence,
the abuse,
the rape.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

is perpetrated by,

grand-fathers,
colleagues,
boyfriends,
husbands,
nephews,
brothers,
partners,
fathers,
uncles,

men,

all men.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

stops when us men stop,

The violence,
the abuse,
the rape,

today, now.

Stop! Listen! Think! Act!

She Walks Alone …

She Walks Alone …

she walks alone,

barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

smacked around by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the pristine hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter
of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten more down,

loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,

she walks alone,

and though fearful of you men she may seem,

be warned that she may not forever be this alone,

for she too dreams and thinks and believes,

for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,

and she too will rise and in rising slay,

the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,

and she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

Heritage Day ( 2014)

Heritage Day (2014)

1.

Reclaiming loose shards of hope,

gathering up slivers of a splintered rainbow,

today we reflect,

today we pause,

today we wrestle our collective plundered consciousness,

today is ours!

2.

Tomorrow,

the struggles continue …

Amandla!

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Hope & Renewal …

Hope & Renewal …

1.

Hidden beneath life’s undergrowth,

a flower blooms,

amidst  thorns,

a whiff of beauty wafts over desolate spaces,

deep in the thicket of my heart,

where wounds are raw,

and the world is merely a blur of worn-down faces.

2.

The solitary flower strains towards the light,

in the dim bleakness of unnamed woes,

it’s fragility,

innocence distilled,

pristine,

simple,

natural,
healing,
renewing,

reaching between the open wounds,

of this splintered heart,

caressing my soul,

with a faint murmur of promise.

3.

Hidden beneath life’s undergrowth,

life stirs,

whistling melodies,
healing my shattered heart,

offering comfort,
solace,

peace,

a wounded peace,
while gathering the pieces,

an elusive, wily peace,

yet tangible,

alive!

breathing!

Breathing life back,

as pain flees,

and as,

numbness ceases…

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Rains over Jo’Burg …

Rains over Jo’Burg…

The parched African earth soaks up the liquid offering from the heavens,

birds sing,

ululating,

a chorus of relieved catharsis flows through my barren heart,

the steady rain continues,

elevating just another day,

transforming a dry insipid moment,

into a cacophony of jubilant life,

life!

life flowing,

streaming down the desolate avenues,

dripping like perennial teardrops,

down the cheeks of this crazy,

maddening city of gold,

moments of undistilled supreme mirth,

heralds the arrival of a new season,

a triumphant rebirth,

jubilant,
relieved,
ecstatic,

as the Gods of Africa,

and the spirits of the Ancestors,

smile down,

on us,

we of flesh,

and of blood,

and of muscle,

and of bone,

soaking hardened hearts,
dead as cold stone,

infusing new life,

amidst the fragrant scent of rain on dry soil,

while the bronze sun retreats,

seeking respite behind the dark, hopeful clouds of charcoal grey,

while the rains shower their blessings,

banishing the winter chills,

and graciously beckoning spring to stay.

The rains over Jo’Burg caress the leaves on the trees,

cleansing the accumulated baggage that only yesterday so listlessly hung,

over the dryness in my soul,

scorched by a merciless  winters’ sun,

Ah! But today,

today,

there are songs to be sung!

today,

I feel complete,

I am with the heavens,

no longer splintered,
into a thousand and three fragmented pieces,

at last I am whole,

at last,

I am one…

scribblerofverses@gmail.com

For Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984)

when,

the hushed rage of prejudice rejoices in triumphant pomp and hateful ceremony,

and,

the silent dagger of complicit racism plunges deep into the soul of a world bereft of hope,

and,

the long knife of embraced apathy twists and turns,

then,

perhaps we’ll open our opaque eyes,

and perhaps then we’ll open our sewed-up mouths,

and perhaps only then will we whimper in mock shock and startled surprise,

for,

the festering hate that spirals around us,

in the fertile minds of quasi-religious bigotry,

is unafraid,

and speaks in the loudest baritone.

2.

Yet,

we accept,

we acquiesce,

we wish it all away,

but,

there will come that time when the lines are drawn,

when the purest hearts of silently smiling bigotry will hold the world in their sway,

with their cherubic, agreeable arguments sprinkled with pieces of fact that will kill, rape, pillage, and slay…

what then,

I ask,

will we do that day?

          _____________

” … First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me … ” – Pastor Martin Niemoller

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.

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

Seducing my Soul

caressing the seductively swaying marmalade roses,

teasing the stealthily approaching morn,

the smell of you lingers,

on,

and on,

as I lie awake and allow my vagabond thoughts to wander,

to the thoughts of you, seducing my soul entire,

as I sat,

and as I basked,

intoxicated,
teased,
raging,
transfixed,

and warmed,

by the healing glow,

that embraces your being entire …

I’ve Scribbled This Song For You…

I’m wasting my days,
my empty nights too,

I should have held on,
but I simply lost you,

now I stagger along,

wearing broken smiles,
in between hell and you,
there’s a million miles,

yes, I should have kept,
you close to my skin,

soaking your warmth,
but you were laughing,

at my foolish grin…

now I’m all broken,
and torn apart,

but what the hell,
I was always late,
for the tolling of the bell,

and now…

now I stagger along,

wearing broken smiles,
in between hell and you,
there’s a million miles,

so kiss me now like you once did,
I’m tired of being so carefully hid,

la laa laa la laa laa laa…

(repeat to fade)

The Oblivious Sea

Loneliness slithers by,
its icy feel brushing past,
coiling itself around my being.

In the depths of solitude,
alone, torn apart by circumstance,

battered to a pulp by fate’s hushed trials,

my desolation is complete,

the final notes of mirth,
now scurry off into this hollow city’s street.

I try to scream,
cocooned in my shell,

none can hear my plea,

its plaintive call,

settling beneath the murky waters,

of the oblivious sea…


I don’t know why,
but you have endured,

in the recesses of my memory,

filling in the crevasses of all these passing years,

cementing my will,

forging my spirit out of the cauldron of molten loss,

I do not know why,

but it always keeps coming back,

to you…

The Women

The Women

(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)

Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,

they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid’s racist hell.

They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,

and white was right in South Africa back then,

but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,

you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their ‘racial superiority’, their taunts, their threats.

You, my mother, would not, could not break,

You stood firm, you stood tall.

You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.

You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,

the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,

my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,

by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.

You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.

You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,

you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,

you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.

Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,

all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.

I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,

the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.

I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,

you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,

of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.

I salute you!

(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)