Survival by Ashaq Hussain


How do you bear the separation
While your home is under siege:
By recalling an army of metaphors
Or dead clichéd caterpillars of hope?
How do you bear separation alone
While you oscillate between awful
Dregs of despair and the hazy
Halloweens of commercial ads?


How do you bear separation?
While a soldier knocks down,
Your ancestral pride and erects
False ego of empire in your lawn.
Do you sing as a culture bird?
Of the smoke shells hovering in the air,
Or the breast-fed songs of mother
That vanished along with the home fire?


How do you bear separation?
While authority attacks in ambush.
Do you alliance or stay alert-armed?
For anarchy’s sake─ anguish, annihilate
Till the bullet buries the body in the dust;
The shadow of a soldier blows out brains
In defeat and returns home never
To come back─ again.


How do you bear separation?
You don’t bear it or even hear it,
While your home hammers suspended
Between the steel hopes of a family;
The aggressor’s unwanted presence.
The soldier shells, shoots and storms
Your air to stifle and suspend survival,
But you rage, resist, rescue and rule.

Ashaq Hussain is pursuing his PhD on translations of Ghalib from Aligarh Muslim University.

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