Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Arshia Qasim Jul 2020
I thought I was unduly bent
with the burden on my head
No heart had ears that understood
the tales my face had said

I thought the path had sifted me
away from smoother stones
Where everything is forsaken
and no one truly owns

I thought and thought and thought some more
till I no longer; saw
For eyes, that I knew not I had
widened to stirring awe

In tumblements, I had arrived
to the hall of cynosures
where souls lit up in endurance
and patience opened doors

Accepted for defectiveness
revered for differences
Collected, all, in being dispersed,
closer for distances

Had fate and path not made me, me
and storms made waves I ride
and then I took all I held in
and looked around, outside

It brings you. where you need to be
it gives, what you require;
To then, become what you were, always
waiting, beyond desire.


For unexpected realizations, I am #thankful
Sometimes the need is to look inside. Sometimes it is to look outside from the inside.
This poem arrived after I spoke to a lady whose daughter with special needs had passed away at age 25. Having lost my mother recently after a long illness and having a younger brother with special needs, I could talk about the challenges of disability, bereavement and so much more with her and I realised our shared experiences had brought us to a place where we understood and also stood apart.
Arshia Qasim Apr 2020
احتمالی بندشوں میں جانفشانی قید ہے
کر کے دیکھیں وار تو پھر زعم ہوگا آر پار

Zeal is restrained
in the boundaries
of “what-if”s
Give it a go, so you
know, whether
your claim lives !

Couplet and translation ©️Arshia.
Arshia Qasim Apr 2020
I’ve lost count of the weeks.
Grief has made its own calendar.
The pandemic stopped what ambition started
I surrender.

4th March 2020:

My mother has died
I can't close my eyes tonight
not because I am afraid of falling asleep
but of waking up in a tomorrow
where she does not exist.
Behold, the audacity!
I never accepted night,
and still, the sun creeps up
across the jagged Tokyo skyline
ascending the tower ladder,
bouncing off windows,
pushing apart curtains
pouring in from all crevices
as the city flips up
person by person,
onto its stuporous hustle,
as if nothing happened.

Amazing Grace:

A million poems came to hold up my heart
as it fell apart
in my mother's death
I had prepared for this moment,
but what preparations suffice,
when air is wrenched away from breath?
I could write the saddest lines,
sadder than Neruda's
but the tales of her glory
have a more engaging story
to tell.
What would she have said
when she saw herself tagged
in her obituary?
she always counted the likes
and read the comments I receive,
rejoicing momentarily,
in what, she claimed, was borrowed fame.
And now I grieve.
My frantic efforts to capture screenshots
whenever we face-timed,
so I could hoard
her presence.
Oh, bless her essence!
even though her skin-clad bones
had lost the cushion of flesh,
even though the bruit
of the fistula in her left arm terrified me
like a constant 'low-battery' signal,
when she managed to hug me, breathlessly,
that last time,
it was an exchange
of the most amazing grace:
her pain wrapped in patience,
mine in gratitude.

Retrospecti­ve Realizations:

And suddenly,
I remember all the condolence messages I have ever written
and retrospectively fill them
with feel, only now revealed to me.
My best compassion and empathy paled in comparison
to this reality.
Death is inevitable; mortality, inescapable.
but life,
with its enticing persistence to carry on,
is cruel.

The poem ends but the pain doesn't:

The real mourning starts
when the visitors leave
and the phone calls end
and the messages stop pouring in,
when you have to resume living
but the dead can't un-die.


Arshia Qasim Jun 2019
Far enough but still so close
A pain I earned, the ache I chose
I recognise, but can’t relate  
The circumstance compels this wait
As I stand by, and you become
Recalling some, forgetting some
I feel you, though not hand in hand
I know, I see, I understand!

Mindful of what lies ahead
I want to look behind instead
Or glaze past all uncertainty
And wake up when in clarity

Almond scented, jasmine hued
Chocolate smooth and zest imbued
O caress of sure hands
Full as skies, deep as lands
I may not be with you right now
But we are always synced somehow
The journey of a teardrop
From the rim to when it stops
A trace of love, on sands of time
That renders our lives sublime

Grow, engage, enhance, affect
Shine on, but also, pause, reflect
This is the space, between the two
from no longer...... to not just yet


Love, separation, remembrance .
Arshia Qasim May 2019
My search of one
remained futile
I had no skill
nor had I guile

But when I picked
with both my hands
some bits of stars
some fists of sands

I found that 'all'
for me was 'one'
And I was all
or I was none!

Arshia Qasim Dec 2018
احتمالی بندشوں میں جانفشانی قید ہے
کر کے دیکھیں وار تو پھر زعم ہوگا آر پار

Zeal is restrained
in the boundaries
of “what-if”s
Give it a go, so you
know, whether
your claim lives !

Couplet and translation ©️Arshia.
Arshia Qasim Dec 2018
Have you ever had an open box of cornflakes
slip out of your hands
(at the precise time you were constructing a poem in your head)
and scatter all over the kitchen
like the fragile egos of self righteous partisans
(creating a bigger mess if you trample them)
and thus, you find yourself on all fours
sweeping a recently swept floor
once more.....

We’re brought up looking for divine expedience in any mishap that happens:  
“Maslehat” they say.... there must be a hidden benefit in this!
“it’s a small loss in lieu of a bigger one that it prevented”...
....and we tune our frequencies from ambition to complacency....
year after year,
generation after generation,
till that becomes the default station.....

I even start looking at the benefits hidden in the mess at hand...
I’ve discovered crevices under the stove where my cleaner never reaches,
(now I can prepare an admonition for her
—-wouldn’t have happened without the corn flakes.... thank you!)
I imagine worse scenarios.... it could have been the bag of flour, or the spice jars .... or.... glass bottles.
The work instantly becomes less tedious, as I weigh it against shards of glass and invisible weapons of potential exsanguination....
oh shukar , shukar, shukar..... Alhamdulillah.
It’s ok, it’s only cornflakes....  

It’s only cornflakes, and my attitude.... ( that’s in question)
keeping things together, even when they’re crumbling,
cleaning up messes, and counting on second guesses,
Using crafting glue and bluetac to hold up foundations
( this doesn’t merit any recommendation!)

A friend once said, “ sometimes you have to let it break, so that you can build it better....”
but what is better, when each damage is a consecration  
that is the conundrum of creation
it’s all a substrate
it’s all a message
its all salvation
I had told my friend, “listen I don’t know how to use metaphors,
and I only have a few of my own,
will you give me some on loan?
I need them to break and remake my ache.... “
The silence meant yes.
I could take all the phrases,
all beautiful words, all dictions, all praises
In these clumsy hands, ( since the heart understands)
And if I spill them like cornflakes,
no matter what it takes,
I’ll find a way, to scoop them in a poem.

These events actually occurred
Next page