how sweet is the sensation, how smooth the flight in holy silence, words flow on, with delight
as the hours pass by, dawn breaks into light
Anjum Wasim Dar
Over my life
I have drifted,
along, with the flow-
I came to know
I have to go, be slow
To move step by step
shed tears drop by drop,
Over my heart I found,
nothing was my own
It all had to be gifted,
to known and unknown,
Over my heart I saw,
as inside I bled
outside all was black ,
as the invisible was red,
love’s return, hard to find,
to complete a good age
we ourselves must be
loving caring and kind.
Spirit of Two Spheres
O My Spirit
someone has seen you
In sound and silence,
felt you in celestial
O spirit where dost thy wander<
Free when I fall asleep…
Tell me who is the silent one
Who thinks of me<
With hand on the cheek
a smile in thoughts, deep
O spirit tell me, how is she?
and tell her please she is very<
Dear n near to me, I know not<
When or how many times our
paths crossed on the page…
My pen said write and I wrote
My poem missed the boat once
twice, made me sad, not for the poem
but for not reaching her in time…
Quietly I moved across the screen
searching for her, in vain, she seems to
be away, perhaps resting after the day
I wonder how much work she has to do<
Or needs to go out too, but then my heart
missed many beats as I saw in silent sound<
That ‘I am mostly home bound’
Spirit you do not know my heart
painfully bled inside, I felt love n concern
deeply strangely beside.
O spirit pray pray pray….
JAMIE: How did you come to poetry?
ANJUM: I believe I came to this world with poetry inherited in my blood. Becoming aware of life I found myself in a Renaissance atmosphere, an environment replete with books magazines newspapers radio programs and home screen movies.
My early school lessons had poems rhymes and songs that I thoroughly enjoyed. I fell in love with the Silver Bells Poetry books and would read and recite the poems again and again. While at home spoken-word a parlor games were popular: ‘Bait Baazi is played by composing verses of Urdu poems. It is very common among Urdu speakers in Pakistan and India. It is similar to Antakshari, the Sistanian Baas-o-Beyt, the Malayalam Aksharaslokam and, more generally, the British Crambo. It was the most popular game with uncles and aunts all living together after arriving safely in Pakistan, the newly created state by Partition in the Indo-Pak Subcontinent.
My Grandfather Mohammed Hasan ( B.Sc B.T. Kashmir), was a Professor at King George Royal Military College, Jhelum City, Pakistan after migration from Kashmir in the 1950s. He wrote poems in Urdu, mostly on request. He never published his writings. I learned the Arabic poetry meter system from him. He told me Urdu used the Arabic poetry meter system because it was quite simple to understand. Grandfather had learned English, Persian, and Urdu. He knew Shakespeare’s numerous lines by heart and had translated Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of Baskervilles into Urdu.
I wrote my first poem in Urdu at the age of 12 while sitting silently during blackouts of the two wars that were fought with India (in 1965 and 1971). During this time, I also listened to patriotic songs on the radio, which had a deep impact on my writing. I realized how nations were inspired to compose words and record acts of heroism and then I understood the works of our Great National Poet, Allama Mohammed Iqbal, who expressed the qualities of a true Muslim and the characteristics of the Muslims as a separate nation through his poetry. Iqbal awakened the Muslims as a nation, highlighted their rights and duties…I was 16 at the time.
Studying for the master’s degree in English Literature I captured the true essence of poetry and the hidden poet in me emerged. I was by then a mother of three college going kids – the year 2000 and I was recognized internationally as the Poet of Merit by Poetry.com USA and the ISP International Society of Poets
JAMIE: Why is poetry so important to the global community?
ANJUM: The global community has expanded profoundly in recent years, grown in number but shrunk in distance, It has established links from one end of the planet to the other – the Age of Digital Connectivity, which ensures the constant availability of all kinds of information.
Poetry has been the earliest form of language ever since people learnt to make meaningful sounds. I believe human beings understood each other better with fewer syllables and there and then poetry took the first form. Still the understanding of concepts, ideas and precepts came in short forms like ‘formulas.’
Poetry can reach the masses in its various ‘short forms ‘ and convey guidance, pleasure, motivation, love and a warning’ faster than any other means. In its indirect mode it would not offend, abuse or disrespect anyone, though the key here is the knowledge and ability to read and understand.
I believe poetry has the power to change the fate of nations. It reveals the truth of life and leaves strong meaningful lessons for those who turn towards it. Some may deliberately use poetry for their own goals and objectives, which may again beneficial.
The global community needs conscious help in many form. Poetry has the potential to play a major role in educating broadly. Listening to poetry involves patience, so a better usage of time, for example through verses and lyrics of songs, we can think differently and stay away from violence, feel hopeful. Here we have seen a change in the style of political activity when every public gathering and following speeches were interspersed with songs called ‘Promoting Party Songs’ and it kept the public involved, joyful and inspired. The current trends are Poetry and Peace in the World, such as Poets Against War and 100,000 Poets for Change are moving together in many countries around the globe.
Poetry readings bring people closer. The individual cultural aspects and traditions are shared, this leads to more knowledge and better understanding among different communities and thus to peaceful living life style in an improved environment.
JAMIE: What poet do you find most inspiring and comforting and why?
ANJUM:In the early years the poems were Mother Goose Rhymes, then poems of nature where William Wordsworth and Robert Frost stand out, but with only one poem each, Daffodils and Stopping by the Woods. I am sure many are familiar, as these poems are part of the school/college syllabus.
At this stage a poem that touched my soul and spirit was Ozymandias of Egypt by Percy Bysshe Shelley. I had just started college when war with India was declared and ‘Death’ came to the forefront. Father and an elder brother were actively involved at the borders. I came to know Urdu poets and writers like Masroor Anwer, Soofi Tabassum, Jameeluddin Aali and Himayat Ali Shaer. The concept of bravery, sacrifice and patriotism was highlighted in the poems for the soldiers and kept the nation motivated and in high spirits…and I felt the support in the absence of father at home.
Among the writers of English Literature, though I enjoyed reading Shakespeare and found him close to nature and humanity, John Milton and T.S.Eliot inspired me the most. John Milton’s style of expression, themes and choice of words brought a change in my writing style. I began to see life differently, on a higher level of reality and grandeur. Milton’s grand style improved my proficiency in English (a foreign language for me), in sentence structure and the use of adjectives, similes and imagery. It moved me to write better and writing poetry became a part of me…I would keep reading lines from Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. The phrases “to be weak is miserable’’ and “all is not lost’ though coming from Satan in the poem gave much hope to thoughtful believers…Side by side Keat’s Odes brought color, movement and the density of vocabulary to embroider the little that I could write. My literature teacher guided me to adopt the style of such great writers. I must mention Mathew Arnold and Sir Philip Sydney whose essays also enlightened my mind towards understanding literature. Poetry remained on top of the list. T.S.Eliot’s Wastland and the essays Tradition and Talent and What is a Classic opened more avenues for understanding human nature and ‘to justify the ways of God to men’ as Milton wrote. T.S.Eliot inspired me to write about the great event, the ‘Partition ‘of India, which changed the lives of millions of people of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent.
When you ask me about a comforting poet then without any doubt or hesitation I would say that it is none other than Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869). I have his complete works in my personal library including audio cassette recordings of his essays and letters etc read by Mr Zia Mohyiuddin. Every time my thoughts emotions feelings need comfort I turn towards his poems and ghazals. Ghalib understood human feelings. When one reads his verses one finds soothing answers. “… life is like that.” He has the saintly prophetic style of expression..he speaks the truth…in this world of hate, envy, and revenge I find him a great support…’acceptance is the key to happiness’ and he assures that awareness of one’s skill is the most satisfying thing in the world..’ ‘ and writes for himself..that he could have been a ‘wali’ a friend of the Almighty if he had not been an alcoholic.
ھیں اور بھی دنیا میں سخن ور بہت ا چھے
کہتے ھیں کہ غالب کا ھے انداظے بیاں اور
The other influence on my writing came from Dr Allama Iqbal (1877-1938) whose poetry was regularly read aloud at home. From the primary level to college and later at family gatherings, Allam Iqbal’s poems were remembered and recited. Dr Iqbal inspired me towards religion, developing the strength of my faith belief and trust in Allah. Other than his poems for children, the Prayer DUA…
لب پہ آتی ھے دعا بن کہ تمنا میری
زندگی شمع کی صورت ھو خدایا میری
“I say a prayer, which is my wish that my life be like a lamp.”
He provides a complete guideline for the purpose of life and how to live it. Quranic study with meaning and understanding came much later in my life. Many verses are inspiring but two which I always recite and quote ..
کبھی اے ھقیقت منتظر نظر آ لباس مجاز میں
کہ ھزاروں سجدے تڑپ رھے ھیں میری جبین نیاز میں
“O Great Truth appear in the worldly light, am dying to prostrate myself, thousands of times.”
کھول آنکھ زمیں دیکھ فلک دیکھ فظا دیکھ
مشرق سے ابھرتے ھوےؑ سورج کو زرا دیکھ
“Open your eyes see the Earth, the sky, the scene, see the sun rising in the East, have a vision,be enlightened. “
For Dr Iqbal one needs intensive and consistent study. His philosophy of ‘Self’ rising above personal desires, gaining knowledge and being positive and steadfast in faith lead to a fine development of character.
JAMIE: Pakistan has declared Urdu the national language and you have been working to translate your work into Urdu. What has that adventure been like for you? What are the challenges?
ANJUM:Yes, Urdu is our national language. It is also compulsory for all to study in school. For me Urdu was not difficult. A 10-lesson reader and a small book of grammar was all we had in the course. Two options were offered, either one could take the Advanced Course or the Easy one. I took the advanced and found it rather easy.
When I started teaching, I found that students and teachers both had a low proficiency level in the subject. A Certification of Teaching of Urdu was not required, only a master’s degree was enough for a job. Many precious years have gone by without any regular or professional training courses in the subject for teachers of Urdu. My love of poetry kept me glued to Urdu. I had read Mir Taqqi Mir, Mir Dard, Daagh, Bahadur Shah Zafar Ghalib Allama Iqbal a couple of poems by Nazeer Akbarabadi. As a family all loved the Urdu(Indian ) songs and Urdu movies ..Pakistani Urdu songs came later. This way I got to listen, speak, and read a little ( an Urdu newspaper with my Grandmother) and keep my Urdu language alive. My parents spoke Punjabi. In fact my Grandfather, uncles, aunts and other relatives all, spoke Punjabi…we kids spoke Urdu and later quite fluently. .it was English.
I found translating English poetry to Urdu quite challenging. I had translated paragraphs but not poems, the last translation task that I had to do was a letter (from Urdu to English ) while working as Creative Writer (English –with Channel 7 Adv. Company Islamabad).
Poetry in Urdu reflects the thoughts ideas and emotions more effectively than English as the Poetess of India who uses the pen name “Haya” writes :
کیا بھلا چاند ستاروں کی زباں سمجھیں گے
برگ پھولوں کا پرندوں کا بیاں سمجھیں گے
کتنے بد بخت ھیں واۡقف نہیں جو اردو سے
وو حیا علم و محبت کو کہاں سمجھیں گے
“who can understand the language of the moon and stars
of flowers leaves and of the birds and what they say
how unfortunate are those who don’t know Urdu
they will never understand, language of love and knowledge.”
I must appreciate and thank you for setting me off on a wonderful amazing exciting adventure into the mythical mysterious world of Language. I feel like King Odysseus on a great Viking ship, my companions are few but powerful, the Internet, the laptop computer, and the camera….I miss the Urdu Thesaurus, I believe it is available in book form and will try to get a copy. In the meantime the Internet helps…
The challenges I face when translating are not tenses nor Urdu grammar but Urdu vocabulary. I need to increase the repertoire. The Urdu script /Urdu Fonts (how to write a word correctly) the problem…generally one finds an English word written with the Urdu alphabet, in the Urdu script, when the word is read, it sounds as in English…. Office…آفس English… انگلش Game گیم Show شو
I had to learn and perfect my Urdu typing ability.
With regard to transferring the correct poetic idea to a different language there are constraints that I have noticed: There are no Urdu language programs for outside classroom audiences, like a poetry recital stage show or a forum or gathering of writers and poets called Mushaira. Common language exchange outside the classroom have developed into a mixture of Urdu and English. Many English words have come to stay in Urdu vocabulary lists as …’family, bed, chair. office, cushion, curtain , butter, finish, film, game, milk, racquet, ball, house, number, shop, wife, darling. “Hello” is the most common word used to attract the attention, in place of “hey listen” or “are you listening?’?”
The best part of the adventure is that I am using Urdu, writing in Urdu, looking up the Urdu Dictionary, sharing the language adventure with my family and friends and dearly loving all the activities of my dear national language. It is a beautiful language, quite misunderstood, misused too sometimes but it is pure, soft, sweet and full of respect and love. I wish I had started this adventure earlier.
My regret is that Urdu is not getting the attention it should. The Academy of Letters is working somewhere. Urdu magazines for children are few and one fails to find good authentic speakers of Urdu language. Only a deliberate effort can create that environment and that too would be rare.
ANJUM WASIM DAR (Poetic Oceans) was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949.
Her family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India and she was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi where she passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Anjum ji was a Graduate with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University, which ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup, but she found she had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan since she was at the time also a back-to-college mom with three school-age children.
Her work required further studies, hence a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE, a proficiency certificate, from Cambridge University UK (LSE – Local Syndicate Examination – British Council) were added to her professional qualifications.
Anjum ji says she has always enjoyed writing poems, articles, and anecdotes and her written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. A real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA. She accepted the Challenge of NANOWRIMO 2014 and Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs, a novel form was the result. She was a winner, completing her 50,000 word draft in one month.
Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, she is a colored-pencil artist and also enjoys knitting and is currently trying to learn Tunisian Crochet.
Memoir writing is her favorite form of creative expression.
“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read byNorthern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton
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