in holy silence, words flow on, with delight
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.
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.
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…
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?