Believers – a poem


We may know there is no escape
only after the hour young men are shattered silent.
Where does it come from—the blood,
what hands shape the pathways it slithers along?
All evidence against this march is lost
when men are hoarded like sheets of newspaper—
used, of bygone dates,
wrapped around few rupees’ exchange
and later discarded as smudged text.

Mountains creep up their breath
burdening the unrelenting silence their
exhaling would’ve masoned, the hush
in their voice spluttered blood, were they
afraid of taking their eyes off the door?—Who
lies behind unseen corners, beneath
the reach of untied hands?

The voice reframes connotations (all
names make a similar sound:
the sound of words
when stripped of the
bureaucratic gild and seasonal denominations)
holding out long enough to scrap distinctions
between your-blood and our-blood—blood
must be contagious, all of it, seeping
into one’s breath it fills
lungs with a weight still unresolved.

Girls walk through the patter of summer rain, in
their mouths men embitter themselves
in the mouths of newly wed women boys
embitter themselves,
dangling astride their encumbered shoulders
they carry feet to inhabitable mountains
from perforated chests commands emanate:
hold the line, don’t let go!

What if their Jets bury our villages, we
must confess
we are not to take fright
persist, persist, persist—hearts
are drawn into sickle shaped metal pieces
harvesting memory and persistence
arranging these in ricks of dull yellow color

early morning paddies smell of
years of solitude
now run over by the march of army boots

from the edge of autumn harvests apple
orchards torment bearers—we cannot store the
fruit through winters, it must
be sold before spring sun rests on our cheeks
water logged roads flood our gates, there is
no respite from wet hands—everything
you might want to touch is wet,
wet hands press against our wet shoulders
wet feet peruse the temporariness of summers,
wet is the name our rivers—one
who is killed by a stray bullet pays
for his blood in a wet shroud: they
refuse to hang his hands astride the coffin—what
does he carry along?

We might not know how
futile singing proceeds through our bosoms
though it entreats the widow at her tongue
kateav chukh nund-e-banae waloe mashooq myanae”[1]

our singing therefore is mere lamentation—
its inability to peruse through the rubble
its incapacity to build from the ashes!
Deaths, like stories, occur
in great many numbers, therefore no disputations
hold as to “whose belongs to which graveyard”
Our memory of the kin is more violent, less
subdued under the canopies of our sobbing feet—
how far would this frolic lost?
One wouldn’t, however, unhinge interludes, the rumors
inside bosom of the night:
“We might proceed with no survivors, only
believers…..only believers”


  1.  Where do I look for you; come to me my love


Subscribe to RAIOT via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 15.7K other subscribers
Ashfaq Saraf Written by:

Ashfaq Saraf studied Electronics at NIT Srinagar. He writes from Varmull, Kashmir. The Harkening, his first collection of verse was published in 2012

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply