“Kaa’s Trance” by Hibah Shabkhez

Laguna agate.jpeg

Ereyesterday, my pen could write this tale

In the rich tongue of my own earth-mother;

Overmorrow, a tapping thumb will nail

Its fate to the sails of the conqueror.    

 

It trembles. It cries to the story-dew

Avaunt! ‘You’re wrong. I don’t belong. To you’

 

Today, like yesterday, like tomorrow

Language bars the door to the telling. 

It’s English: the jests need Urdu’s sorrow,

And the gestures Punjabi’s wheaten ring

 

It trembles. It cries to the story-dew

Avaunt! ‘You’re wrong. I don’t belong. To you’

 

Languemixes sprouting in the marches 

Hire border reivers to steal them new words;

My purist pen beats away their larches,

Their seducing wisps that hover in herds 

 

It trembles. It cries to the story-dew

Avaunt! ‘You’re wrong. I don’t belong. To you’

 

 

 

 

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Mojave Heart, Third Wednesday, Brine, Petrichor, Remembered Arts, Rigorous and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

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