Thursday, January 28, 2016

Rehan Qayoom- Two Poems

Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work internationally.  He has published 2 books of poetry and several works of prose.

Society Meeting

To brandish all the signs of genius
To bear the marks of disability
To read the myth of Mighty Peleus
With such diminished visibility
Are not the signs of High Society
Nor will they bring in any money now

Can this be life when all I do is read?
And go out once a while unheard, unseen
Alone and unaccompanied – I plead
To be let in the group, I have not been
Involved in anything like this: 15
Poets all discussing poetry

“Oh Yes” “Of Course” and that dull “Sure, why not?”
“Well, you know, when he published Don Juan
“It all went down so badly and he got”
“Some very bitter reviews”, “And … well … one can
Either take things badly”, “But not Byron”
He made the most of it, he fobbed them off

Go on you dullards mocking: ones who make
The money from these meetings, those who eat
The cakes and all the pies and also take
The freebies to be had from such a meet
Let me alone now with my bread and water
And then return back home to Homer’s Daughter

A Poem of Maturity

After Parveen Shakir.
Sobbing like a child he insisted
That they bury him alive with his dead wife
The lads nudged and winked
At each other
The elderly said 'He has gone mad'
And the priests had a hard time dragging him back home!

Routinely he would go to Mewashah after work
Carrying flowers and incense candles
Then he would go every Thursday
Then every ninth day
Then on the 2 Eids, and then every Shab-barat
Then annually
Till one day he alighted from the number 60 bus
Into the scorching sun
And his eyes settled upon a tree
As he remembered
The new typist who’d arrived at the office that day
He laughed
Realising that the world
Does not consist of one person alone 

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