by Asif Sultan Matta

Thou ask me about the autumnal beauty
And the full charm of the Chinar tree?

A coupe walk in Kashmir University campus in autumn. Pic Bilal Bahadur

Let me thank thee for reminding
The inert beauty of my hapless valley,
Let thou trust me that;
We’ve forgotten this abode of glee.

Can there be anything to please
A fearful heart with anxieties?

Can a dying man rejoice
The delicious food of his choice?
Can a betrayed lover savour
The night’s silence and day’s glitter?

Can a motherless child enjoy
The catchy playthings and lifeless toys?
Can a heart broken be marvelled
By the yellow falling leaves of Chinar!

My comrade, our sun rises and burn
The blooming flowers and green ferns;
The Chinar leaves scornfully sing
The litany of mockery at our bleak spring!

The woeful mothers
Who rehearsed madrigals,
To sing in their sons’ nuptials
Are crooning now the elegies
On their sons’ funeral!

Thou art inquiring of Kashmir, my dear!
‘Tis swamped with the tempest of fear
And takes away the beauty and our dreams
Only we witness is the crimson streams!



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