“Jhelum Is Disappearing” By Ishrat Bashir


Jhelum Is Disappearing

Jhelum is disappearing
Like the maer* that ran
Through the heart of Srinagar,
My mother used to play
By its embankments.
The touch of water has a memory,
Memory of a dream in which the
World comes to an end.
Jhelum is disappearing.
Now that, you and me, have lost our language,
Our happy roads to each other
Let us promise to share our dreams
In all their incongruity and dissonance,
Each piece of darkness
And each shadow that the moon casts
As we turn our back on it;
Even the one in which you see yourself
Fettered to yourself
At the tips of your toes;
And the one in which we’d wash
Our hands together with soap
Watching the sullied water
Dripping from tips of our soiled fingers
Accompanied by useless words
Gurgling with our laughter
That made others laugh at us.
And the ones in which we wandered
through wild pine woods
With our pieces of jigsaw, lost to each other.
Jhelum is disappearing
And the jigsaw lies incomplete
On the table in the house
That we had planned to built.
That house still holds us together
In the life that has lost us
To the posh colonies of Hyderpora
And narrow stinking alleys of downtown.
One day when both of us are free
And long for rest, we may return,
To that table with our pieces.
But on that day, when it happens,
You must bring that ring of smile
And I shall bring my old mirror.
Poems like waves are reckless
You cannot pitch up your tent
On their shores.
But we must not die, we must
Keep the connection even if
Only at the tips of our toes.



About the Author: Ishrat Bashir is an Assistant Professor, at the Department of English, Central University of Kashmir. She teaches Short Story, Contemporary Literary Theory and British Drama in the department. She has also worked as Assistant Professor in English in the Department of Higher Education and the South Campus of the University of Kashmir. Her area of interest includes Contemporary Literary Theory, Translation Studies, Arabic literature in translation and Kashmiri literature. She writes poetry and short fiction.


Image Credit: John Burke, photographer (Irish, about 1843 – 1900); William H. Baker, photographer (British, about 1829 – 1880), The Jhelum at Srinager. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

3 thoughts on ““Jhelum Is Disappearing” By Ishrat Bashir

  1. Good.I am glade to see it.I found influence of Aga Shahid as well.Keep writing madam.You are an inspiration to me.


  2. The poem brings in a sense of immediacy to the people living in the valley… beautifully coloured in the water of jhelum


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