Tuesday 1 February 2022

Five Wonderful Poems by Hibah Shabkhez

 



Plenicorn, Not Cavicorn

 

If I am to bear the weight, on these horns

Of a spinning earth and seven seas, they must,

These horns that grow only on the giest,

The gaijin, the wealh, the labyrinthed beast,

Be solid bone, not hollowed husks, crippled,

Crumbling from within, like papyrus sealed

Once upon a time, waiting dusky aeons

For the fresh air to make its secrets dust.


 

Would We Love You Then?

 

Pillow-fluff mountains hanging in the blue

Autumn sky, you made it stark, piercing, cold;

Breath-taking, as sunlight never could, drew

Our eyes upwards. The bridge's grimy stone told

Us you would darken that blue, blue sky, drown  

All in torrents of sacred fury cloaked

In soft drifting pearls wearing the gilt crown

Of the sun you enlaced - or strangled. Soaked -

 

If the bridge speaks sooth - would we love you then?

For the lost blue sky, for the stinging dew

Streaking our faces as we raced to pen

Our laments, for the rainbow breaking through?

Would we love you changed, broken, gone, the good

Outweighing all, or shun you where we stood?


 

Painted Flower and Dying Flower

 

The painted flower strains to hear

  The dying flower’s words

Inside the closed book which must bear

  Its last breath evermore.

 

‘You have colour, craft, and glory

  Matched to immortal birds;

I the scents of life. Memory,

  The poisoned sea and shore

 

Of my wrinkled existence, rests

  In your unrustling leaves,

And death, the one magic that bests

  Time, sleeps in painted sheaves.



Authorship

 

 The sun shrugs and rolls

Away. The stars will not shine

  While a moon-song calls

  My pen, lying still,

Gorging on melancholy,

  On ink choked until

  This dented bronze vase

With torn cloth-flowers closes

  My akrasia's jaws.

My pen hears nothing.

 

  My pen rejoices

In having written; the moon

  Thanks the cloth-flowers

  In all the voices

Of the four winds. The window

  Shuts. The moon glowers;

My pen hears nothing.

 

 

Please Go Back

 

My sentences have frozen

  Withered and died.

So I am writing

  This in jagged bits of line

Broken off at random.

This form you have chosen

  Nemesis of mine, is tried

And true; but for telling

  Stories that entwine

Life and lies to make some

New worlds, brave

  And cowardly.

I would fain save

  It for them, you see.

They are meant to be beautiful,

  Beloved; you merely to be.

Please go back to being prose,

  To being made of sentences

Please, go back to the form I chose,

  Ponderous and wrathful -

  --- No.




Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Black Bough, Zin Daily, London Grip, The Madrigal, Acropolis Journal, Lucent Dreaming, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages, and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/HibahShabkhez

 

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