There will be no revenge

there wil be no revenge.pngone day you shall face the same

you will look into the mirror and see us

what worries us now, shall worry you too

Time, you see, sees everything

it records and notes

you will stare into the darkness

and the darkness will stare back at you

your people will run about, scared

your fathers will be lost for words

your mothers wont talk to their children

because that’s what parents do,

they don’t share the grief

our grief will fester in your hearts

we wont call for revenge

Remember time, it notes and sees

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Go

Let us abandon.
Leave. Run. Fly.
Close the door lightly.
We may want to come back.
But we wont.

We shall escape.
This city. Life.
For better lives
As we see it now.
And live.
Without compromise.

Homage to Faiz – Agha Shahid Ali

“You are welcome to make your
adaptations of my poems.”
1
You wrote this from Beirut, two years before
the Sabra-Shatila massacres. That
city’s refugee-air was open, torn
by jets and the voices of reporters. As
always you were witness to “rains of stones,”
though you were away from Pakistan, from
the laws of home which said that the hands of
thieves would be surgically amputated.
But the subcontinent always spoke to
you: in Ghalib’s Urdu, and sometimes through
the old masters who sang of twilight but
didn’t live, like Ghalib, to see the wind
rip the collars of the dawn: the summer
of 1857, the trees of
Delhi became scaffolds: 30,000
men were hanged. Wherever you were, Faiz, that
language spoke to you; and when you heard it,
you were alone—in Tunis, Beirut,
London, or Moscow. Those poets’ laments
concealed, as yours revealed, the sorrows of
a broken time. You knew Ghalib was right:
blood musn’t merely follow routine, musn’t
just flow as the veins’ uninterrupted
river. Sometimes it must flood the eyes,
surprise them by being clear as water.
 2
I didn’t listen when my father
recited your poems to us by
heart. What could it mean to a boy
that you had redefined the cruel
beloved, that figure who already
was Friend, Woman, God? In your hands
she was Revolution. You gave
her silver hands, her lips were red.
Impoverished lovers waited all
night every night, but she
remained only a glimpse behind
light. When I learned of her I was
no longer a boy, and Urdu
a silhouette traced by
the voices of singers, by
Begum Akhtar who wove your couplets
into ragas: both language and music
were sharpened. I listened:
and you became, like memory,
necessary. Dast-e-Saba,
I said to myself. And quietly
the wind opened its palms: I read
there of the night: the secrets
of lovers, the secrets of prisons.
3
When you permitted my hands to turn to
stone, as must happen to a translator’s
hands, I thought of you writing Zindan-Nama
on prison-walls, on cigarette-packages,
on torn envelopes. Your lines were measured
so carefully to become in our veins
the blood of prisoners. In the free verse
of another language I imprisoned
each line—but I touched my own exile.
This hush, while your ghazals lay in my palms,
was accurate, as is this hush which falls
at news of your death over Pakistan
and India and over all of us no
longer there to whom you spoke in Urdu.
Twenty days before your death you finally
wrote, this time from Lahore, that after the sack
of Beirut you had no address. . .I
had gone from poem to poem, and found
you once terribly alone, speaking
to yourself: “Bolt your doors, Sad heart! Put out
the candles, break all cups of wine. No one,
now no one will ever return.” But you
still waited, Faiz, for that God, that Woman,
that Friend, that Revolution, to come at
last. And because you waited, I
listen as you pass with some song,

A memory of musk, the rebel face of hope. 


– Agha Shahid Ali

Hans Christian Ostro

             Even today there are no trains
             into the Vale of Kashmir.
And those defunct trains – Kashmir Mail,
Srinagar Express – took
pilgrims only till the last of plains.
There, in blue-struck buses, they forsook
the monsoon. What iron could be forged to rail
like faith through mountains
star-sapphired, by dawn amethyst?
It’s not a happy sound…
There is such pathos in the cry of trains:
Words breathed aloud but inward-bound.
Bruised by trust      O Heart bare amidst
fire          arms turquoise with veins
from love’s smoke-mines            blessed infidel
who wants your surrender?
I cannot protect you: these are my hands.
I’ll wait by the deep jade river;
you’ll emerge from the mist of Jewel Tunnel:
O the peaks one commands –
A miracle! – from there … Will morning
suffice to dazzle blind
beggars to sight? Whoso gives life to a soul
shall be as if he had to all of mankind
given life. Or will your veins’ hurt lightning –
the day streaked with charcoal –
betray you, beautiful stranger
sent to a lovelorn people
longing of God? Their river torn apart,
they’ve tied waves around their ankles,
mourning the train that save its passenger
will at night depart
for drowning towns. And draped in rain
of the last monsoon-storm,
a beggar, ears pressed to that metal cry,
will keep waiting on a ghost-platform,
holding back his tears, waving every train
Good-bye and Good-bye.
– Agha Shahid Ali
From “The Country Without a Post office”

From Left to Right: Hans Christian Ostro, Dirk Hasert, Paul Welles, Keith Mangan and Don Hutchings
PS: In July 1995, Al-Faran kidnapped 4 Western trekkers from Pahalgam. They demanded that in return of the hostages, 21 of their jailed comrades be released by India. Four days later one hostage escaped. But on that very day, 2 more trekkers were abducted. Hans Christian Ostro from Norway was one of the two. The other was Dirk Hasert from Germany.

Hans Christian Ostro was beheaded and his body found in the upper reaches of Pahalgam on 13 August. He was 27. What became of the other hostages is not known with certainty. 

Thank God For Little Pleasures – XXI

After Apple Picking
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
Robert Frost

Faiz – A Translation



This past night your memory slowly wandered into my heart,
As the Spring slowly comes over a forlorn ruin,
As the breeze slowly treads through deserts,
As the sick, for no reason known, feel good.



Faiz Ahmed Faiz.