At the Bend

Right here at the bend
Of the line you just read
The line read above
Or imagined you read
At the bend of that line
The line you read above
(You scroll up the memory
Which line, which line it could be)
You don’t wish to miss the bend
But before the bend
There is an azure sky
Greyed by our misgivings
Where million stars
Of our wishful thinking
Strangely embellish it
And in the foreground
Of that greying sky
Is a tree of pain
Looming taller than
Mine and your pain
Put together
Caravans after caravans
Of these stars,
These stars of wishful thinking
Handcuffed,
Have lost their way
In the shade of this tree
That looms taller
Than mine and your pain
Put together

I read in a book
Strangely titled
Life After Death
That a tree like this
Forms the boundary
Between heaven and
Our personal hell
And if one rides a horse
For seventy years
Incessantly, non-stop
One may cover the distance
That its shade covers
The shade of this tree
This tree
That looms taller
Than mine and your pain
Put together
Where a thousand moons
Have wept their moonlights
Where a thousand dreams
Dreams that like a muse’s spell
Vanish at the dawn’s break
Rest

Oh wait! Is this not a poem
By… Yes it is Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Ye raat us dard ka shajar hai
Jo mujhse tujhse azeemtar hai

But then what the heck
This is not a translation
Just a misappropriation
Why would a poet write
If not be balm to others
Somewhere in his heavenly
Poetic gatherings, he too
Inwardly smiles
That I visit places
Live in rooms
Which he once inhabited
Sit with people he once loved
Recite to them his very poems

But from this very tree
This tree
That looms taller
Than mine and your pain
Put together
Few leaves of your memory
Have broken free
And are entrapped
In the curls of your hair
A taut memory has dropped
From this very tree
This tree
That looms taller
Than mine and your pain
Put together
A taut memory dropped
Like dew on your forehead
And has strung itself
Into a pearl necklace
That I always envisaged
Tying around your stately neck

But then that poem
That poem

Ye raat us dard ka shajar hai
Jo mujhse tujhse azeemtar hai

Was a poem of hope and revolution
Was a poem, a poem that promised
That where we stood, that where we thought we stood
That very point, that very moment
Was where the horizon existed
That very horizon
On which the dawn broke
But I don’t serve any revolution
And hope is only a morsel
In a starving child’s mouth
Who wishes another soon
I have chewed many a hope
And spat them out
On black unyielding tarmac

“Sir, this would be a fine in Singapore!”
“Uh! Is this the end? The end?”
“No, Sir! This is the bend!”
“The bend you asked for!”
I pay the guy and get off
Without bothering for the change
The city bus strutters, spurts
billowing smoke in my face

Dan Husain
February 7, 2012

5 thoughts on “At the Bend”

  1. oh..it hurts….but then the tree is taller than my pain …all the pain of squashed hopes…but it is also like life stands between heaven and hell….

  2. ‘Few leaves of your memory…’ the perfume of life meeting the void of death. The issues that I saw you as a poet coming up with was deadening loss, the loose threads of frustration and there in the end was your artistic triumph. And isn’t it just like life to give us smoke in the face ‘spurts billowing smoke in my face’. And I am left to wonder where the origin of this fine poem came from.

  3. Lovely as always
    Its the making of this poem that is unique, crafted with such versatility and violence…
    Your poem, Dan, ticks, its ticks louder on busy pathways and streets, beyond the roar of a plane taking off beyond the hysteria of smallplace crowds, beyond our own dismal thoughts, your poem rules…

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