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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Kashmir 1987

 

This is the blue-stone river

on whose banks the fairies danced at midnight.

 

The Neelam burbles through the city

echoing the language of undulate margins

which these valleys understand.

Its sound rationalises even the mountains

 

and the pointed spires of land

reflect in its flowing photography.

The division of water is not

an issue here as down south,

 

for the Bald Mountain, discreetly snow-capped,

watches over the city and the country

holding right the balance of the deeds,

the annual cut of land against the water.

 

This is the blue-stone river

on whose banks the fairies danced at midnight.

 

The Neelam goes through the city

humming an old tune

that time can crack as fresh walnut,

while the valley’s fruit collects

 

in wicker baskets and the cease-fire holds.

These houses are wingless words on the page,

but glow-worms

flitting in the breeze.

 

                               -Alamgir Hashmi

 


© “Kashmir 1987” has been reprinted from Inland and Other Poems by Alamgir Hashmi (Islamabad: Gulmohar Press, 1988) and In the Silence of This Room(St. Paul: Grey Sparrow Press, 2009).



 

Its Way

   

To have sought assonances


pairing in a dream


when they were not,


for me


to ballast giddy imagination


with some truth,


and dilute my day.

 

How can words swell


to fill


the whole picture?


At least, a ruddy cheek


and eye-shadow;


we look from a side,

 

as a tree



shoots up

to form its crown,


opaquely rooted


below.

There has been a knock


in our world, the curtains


whisper.


                It is only vagrant wind,


salacious November


                on the door-step.

 

                                      -Alamgir Hashmi



© Its Way by Alamgir Hashmi has been reprinted here with the author's permission from My Second in Kentucky by Alamgir Hashmi (Vision Press, 1981).


[Pushcart Nomination]

Alamgir Hashmi was born in Pakistan and has published eleven books of poetry and several volumes of literary criticism in the United States, England, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, India and other countries. He has won a number of awards and honors, and his work has been translated into several European and Asian languages. For over three decades he has taught in European, Asian, and U.S. universities, as Professor of English and Comparative Literature.

 

Although he has little faith in the determinants of birth or death as definitions of cultural life, he cares for people and places. He lived and taught in Cambridge, MA before moving overseas. He has also taught down south and on the west coast. He began writing at the ripe old age of eleven and has not stopped since. Currently, he lives in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Professor Hashmi's second poem presented, Kashmir 1987, is one of six Pushcart Nominations by Grey Sparrow staff.