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A Nightmare: A Poem by Qaiser Bashir

Mar 19, 2019

Qaiser Bashir brings us a poem reminiscent of the style of 18th century Romantic English poetry. The poem entitled “A Nightmare” encapsulates a basic fear that many Kashmiris grow up with in the most heavily militarized zone on the planet. The poem carries itself lightly with uncomplicated verses that at first transmit the serenity and safety of one’s home and then plummets into expressing that basic fear and paranoia that has never left Kashmiris since war and conflict broke out at the end of the 80s.

A Nightmare

A candle, sitting like a minaret
On the windowsill of my room, painted
My silhouette on the wall;

I happened to see the silhouette
That danced, as I tossed back and forth
On the edge of my walnut wood bed.

I glued my gaze at it and said,
‘O dear candle, who has taught you this?’

There came not a reply,
But a gentle tapping on the window.
Then, there was a pin drop– I could hear
The lub-dub, lub-dub of my heart.

Open the window... or we’ll break it!

I lost my breath. And thought: who could they be?
Then there was a bang– a window broke into shards;
And in barged a pack of human wolves, faces veiled.
They caught me. Sealed my mouth. Tied my legs
And arms. And scourged me!

I screamed. And I yelled such
That from our kitchen my mother and father ran
And woke me up.

Ah' it was morning. And I, in my bed.

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About the Contributor

Qaisar Bashir (born, 1988), a translator, author and poet, hails from Kashmir. He has a Master's Degree in English Literature from Kashmir University. "Once Upon A Time", a translation of a Kashmiri novel "Akh Dour" by Bandsi Nirdoush, is his debut achievement. His poems, reviews and articles have been published in various national and international journals like The Criterion, Langlit, Muse India, Counter Currents, Tuck Magazine, Setu Magazine and Atunis Poetry.

“Remember, remember
13th of July,
Martyrs of Kashmir
and their sacrifice
who bore witness
with the crimson skies
Heroes of Kashmir
who paid the price.
Remember, remember
13th of July
Remember, remember
13th of July.”

—from: 13th of July, MC Kash