‘It was Life’ by Fauzia Rafique

View Urdu original

(To estranged and un-estranged women friends)

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

You were there, hiding my injured body
in a colourful shawl
i was stumbling
you too helped me up
the truth of the moments
spent with you, in the strength
of the glow
of our togetherness
over years I applied the balm
of my spirit to make it work on me
and now the wounds have healed
without leaving a single ugly scar
on my person
don’t take it to mean
there was
no attack

I lit candles of tears
with the blood of my heart
to enlighten the inside of my body
don’t take it to mean
the darkness
was never

Lightening sight in the eye
glow of life
jumps out of me
whirling into a wild celebrative dance in the yard
don’t take it to mean
that the age of sorrow
did never

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

If you take it to mean
there was no
attack, darkeness did not
descend, that
the age of sorrow
was never here,
there will remain a pinch in my heart
because my story
is yours also
the truth will become jumb
-led with the lie
and at some point
when you are about
to tell your story
the truth all jumbled up with the lie
it may be hard to see
the attacker, to tell
if it’s darkness
or light
because my story
is yours also

You have sustained
attacks here as well, dodged
lethal hits, in offerings
to the times of sorrow you also have
drank tears an eyeful
at a time, you know
all shades of your darkness, recognize
the face of grief
or say it
yes say it
your story
is not my story

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

Now part of eBook ‘Holier Than Life’ by Fauzia Rafique

From Urdu poem ‘Zindgi Thee’

This poem is my first creative writing in Urdu since the late 70s when i stopped writing in Urdu to protest the discriminatory policies of Pakistan government against my mother language Punjabi. I followed many Punjabi writers who had chosen to do it.

Urdu recently returned to me through my mother Zohra Begum’s Punjabi poetry, whose persistent Urdu speaking readers wanted me to provide assistance for them to understand her thoughts. I had just begun translating her Punjabi verses in Urdu last week when I felt this longing to connect with my friends from the 70s and before.

This poem is written in Urdu because as they say it in Persian ‘zuban-e yaar-e-man toorkey wa man toorkey na-mee danam’ or ‘my friend speaks Turkish and I don’t know it’. Luckily in this case, i do, so i hope you enjoyed ‘It was Life’, an Urdu poem in English.

July 2012


6 thoughts on “‘It was Life’ by Fauzia Rafique

  1. Pingback: An ‘Ought To Be Taught’ Poem | Fauzia Rafique

  2. It is exciting to see a fearless progression from darkness to light, hurting to healing yet not forgetting darkness and hurt. It is also saddening to realize how truth can get lost in the lies. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this poem. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  3. Pingback: ‘Zindgi Thee’ (it was life) – Urdu poem by Fauzia Rafique « Fauzia Rafique

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