“Life”, A Poem by Fatima Hassan

Life !

O life of mine!

I have no grievance against you

None, whatsoever

There’s nothing that hasn’t changed

Nothing that I’ve not acquired.

Why is it then that I don’t feel happy

A feeling of distress haunts me

A briery, prickly notion makes me restless

I feel something is amiss in my life

A smoldering fire, I apprehend

Will flare up into a conflagration

My home and hearth

My peaceful existence

Would come to an end.

I am a bulwark of defense

around my near and dear ones

I’m at ease with my environ

Satisfied with my children, my husband, my family

Content with their going and coming time schedule

Their presence on breakfast table or evening tea

I’ve no gripe against in-laws

No grouse against kith and kin

Nothing, indeed, that might create tension

Cause distress.

My home is a paradise incarnate

A refuge and a shelter

Peacefulness, placidity is my own creation …

I always thought my life was a sheltered haven

Harmony and restful quietude is the norm

In my day to day life … but

For some days

I have been feeling a thorn prick my heart

A burning itch, as it were, getting sharp

An itch that perhaps]

might, for a moment, be bearable for me.

Was it a bitter dream or a hallucination

I felt as if my wings are my own creation

That giving up all that my day to day routine

All that I have cherished

I was soaring high above in the void

And in doing so

I am indeed happy …

God only knows why I felt so.

Then it was

That all of a sudden

A beckoning call, a cry from below

Made me wake up, pull my down …

Down into a chasm, a gorge of dejection

I fell down and down

I got entangled – finally losing myself.

No longer am I a distinct ‘self’ now.

No longer do I have any relationship with any one

No affinity at all.

In a house I am, but

The house is not my own.

I have nothing … indeed, nothing at all.

Why and wherefore did it happen?

Indeed, I don’t know.

I don’t know at all.

Translated by Satyapal Anand

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