Weaving Poverty — A Poem by Ashaq Hussain Parray

Mar 8, 2020

In this poem, Ashaq Hussain Parray retrieves the toil of hard labor coupled with expert artistry in an environment of bloodshed and grief that is weaved deep in threads like wounds destined to heal.

In this poem, Ashaq Hussain Parray retrieves the toil of hard labor coupled with expert artistry in an environment of bloodshed and grief that is weaved deep in threads like wounds destined to heal.

How much courage do you need to think
About my father beyond the Shawls, and the Shikaras;
Beyond the fisherman and the frozen forests;
And the roaring 1990s, and the bloody Jhelum
That ferried the Gods across the mountains;
Once in a blue moon, we visit each other
(Though the soldiers often visit us during CASOs)
And wonder whether the past was our present
Or if the otherwise is true;
We trace our memories as far back
As the black crow’s beak can tell;
It once did caw-caw God’s name and fell;
(Mother says, “Crows grow a beak every century
And perish after the number reaches seven”)
My father weaves exquisite oriental carpets
That grow trees of hope; birds of spring─
As the trees turn into woods and the birds
Travel to the warm zones, the carpet falls down,
Done, on a broker’s shoulder bound to New Delhi;
My father loses track─ his eyes blur and thighs tremor;
“One day”, he says, “I shall own birds and the spring
And gather dew drops in my lawn or rest like a king."

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About the Contributor

Ashaq Hussain Parray is currently a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of English at Aligarh Muslim University, where he pursues his doctoral studies in the area of Translation Studies. His research and doctoral work focuses on the translation of Urdu poetry into English. He previously taught as an assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the Islamic University of Science and Technology (Awantipora, Kashmir).

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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