There is a piece of land between the railway tracks and the main road which takes me home. Its unkempt, stark and strewn with weeds. Although a pathway runs below the tracks leading to the other side of the road, the barrenness of this no man’s land, meant that it was not used by pedestrians. This week I noticed the widowed and utterly ignored space been adopted by vegetables vendors, adding vibrancy and attracting those heading home just like me.
It led to me think how uninhabited spaces get adopted into ghettos, slums, bazaars and markets, that we eventually forget how cold and unwanted that place was in the first place.
In the colorful montage of life as it surrounds us today, the white veil of widowed spaces and souls surrounds us, paradoxically wrapped in the most vibrant colors. Look past the garb and her eyes tell you of the story of betrayal. The tale of her first love, made companion, who no longer is the person she loved when she was 19, yet married to him now, the father of her child.
The hurt of abandonment emerges and lays bare the pain caused sometimes by a trusted parent or loyal friend now a stranger or a sibling now estranged.
The late Leonard Cohen who through his music soothingly embraced all of humanity’s corruption, in one of his songs says that a crack in everything is how the light gets in.
But if not all humanity is created equally (in terms of mental strength at least), then what is the price we pay for the cracks we endure?
No matter how much we take hurdles in our stride, cracks show up and create a shadow of souls widowed, and tugs at my heart to see it unable to trust too quickly, love unabashedly or give another chance to friendships that beckon.
We are never the same at the other bank of the river. Fighting the river that we thought would carry us ashore but unexpectedly tried to drown us leaves gasping with disbelief.
But Oh widowed soul
Do you know that love pleads for another chance?
Do you not feel the strings of intimacy playing your tune?
Does the beating drum not fire your loins with passion?
Why not let the wind shatter the wall of disillusionment
Give the chimes of hope a chance to dance in the rain
Allow chirping giggles to overcome the deafening silence you endure
Or simply try giving your widowed soul a chance to bloom again…
There is an amazing illustration by Zen Pencils on Love….sharing it here:
This week’s poem by Parveen Shakir named Barish hui to phoolon ke tan chak ho gaye.
Barish hui to phoolon ke tan chak ho gaye
mausam ke hath bhig ke saffak ho gaye
baadal ko kya khabar ki barish ke chah mein
kitne buland-o-bala shajar khak ho gaye
Juganu ko din ke vaqt pakadne ki zid karen
bache hamare ahad ke chalak ho gaye
jab bhi garib-e-shahar se kuch guftagu hui
lahaje hava-e-sham ke namnaak ho gaye
lahara rahi hai barf ke chadar hata ke ghas
suraj ke shah pe tinake bhi bebak ho gaye
sahil pe jitne aab-gazeeda the sab ke sab
dariya ke rukh badalate hi tairak ho gaye
As it rained the flowers had holes in their bodies made
The weather now drenched became a tyrant
How would the clouds know that while waiting for rain
So many tall and mighty trees had turned to ashes
They insist on testing the firefly in the daylight
Children of today have become so bright
Whenever a conversation with those away from home rose
The evening breeze with their words grew moist
Unveiling the cover of snow, the grass now sways
Egged by the sun the straws are now fearless
All those who would out of fear the water shunned
Became swimmers as the river changed its course.
Ending with Mr. Cohen and his amazing voice.
Making Urdu poetry accessible to those who love the sound of ancient magical words.