Sufia Khatoon

Quarantined children of the night

Aye rab kuch lamhon ke liye
         besukun dil ko mere tu sahara dede

Main teri roshni mein
         kuch lamhein sukun se sojaun *

I pluck sadness out of me
         and plant it into the earth of His heart.

I don’t wish to find it hovering above
         in the eagle circling in the thermals
         or the sun’s mystifying halo.

Even I can’t bear to look
         at the moon of His eyes in the sky

I search in your 100 names, a prayer and a
         mixture for healing. Where to find in
         dysfunctional time some solace?

Quarantined children of the night
         open your eyes and look at the prayers
         like crushed bela **, wafting love and
         nestled in His palms.

* Dear God, give shelter to my restless heart for some moments, I can sleep in your light peacefully for some moments.

** Jasmine

Love on the grainy religion of tongues

Reham farma parwardigar *
leaves my mouth in between
sighs of fear.

Ammi ** carefully adds
salt to a jar of lemon
to preserve the taste of a language lost in conflict.

Love on the grainy religion of tongues
drifts in the noise.
Everything else is just dust wrapped
around border lined bodies.

Why the pigeons kiss and make love over
skyscrapers build on bloodshed?

Man eats man –
countries devour land and its people.

Your longing for a release is
the passive voice of hate
neatly arranged in the idea of
a supreme God.

H a t e
     V i o l e n c e
               H a t e

The fakir + on the street witnessing
the tremors is confused –

It’s easy to find blood on hands and a ‘name’ to blame it all on.

Hate has a face and a motive unlike love –
it finds abundance to thrive
in the psyche of violence and ‘you’.

* Have forgiveness on my soul dear God
** Mother
+ Sufi saint

Dissenting face

After sunset –
anxious evening is
a dissenting face of
a lost land.

Every day
I am afraid
I won’t exist at all.

On the doorstep
of my eyes –
masked hallucinating
moon explodes and
hangs like a disease in the air.

It needs love to heal…

I wave a kiss to my
ammi who has to love
life a lot more.

Who else knows the secret
of the water searching for
the cure?

I refrain from touching
my face that holds
a hope of meeting
noor-e-illahi *.

* The all supreme light.

SUFIA KHATOON is a multi-lingual performance poet, artist, literary translator and facilitator. She has received The Kavi Salam Award 2018. She is the Co-Founder of Rhythm Divine Poets community Kolkata and the Editor of EKL Review. She has authored “Death in the Holy Month” shortlisted for Yuva Puraskar Sahitya Akademi 2020 and her second book of poetry Ger-mi-na-tion is forthcoming from The Red River publication.

She has presented her poems in The Festival of Letters, Yuva Sahiti(Delhi) and Avishkar Young Writer’s Festival (Dibrugrh) 2019 by Sahitya Akademi, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2019-20 and Ethos Literary Festival Kolkata  2018-19 respectively. 

Her works have appeared in Indian Literature Journal, Bengaluru Review, The Alipore Post, Mad Swirl, Indian Periodical, TMYS Review, Narrow Road Review, Poetry Dialogue, Kolkata Cadence anthology and forthcoming anthologies like North Indian Language anthology by Sahitya Akademi, Witness-Poetry of Dissent, Shape of a poem, The best of Mad Swirl 2020, etc.She has worked on a poetry installation called 300 Peace Poetry Prayer Flag as part of her poetry in public spaces project, which has been widely appreciated, she aims to collect more poems over the years and build the installation throughout her life. 

She has an MA in English Literature, a PG in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design. She is a PR, Media and Event Curator by profession.

The accompanying image is by the poet herself.

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