Skip to content Skip to footer
To Contend With The Heart In Winter (For Sushi Anarkali)

It is strange to contend with

the heart in winter

to carry blood so visible to each


To bleed with memories of colour,

To carry to friends choked tears

verses, moments and

now sumptuous pain

To coil reprieves and apologies,

To consider eulogy but to write


In winter it is hard to contend

with the heart

To author dull blue sentences

reeking of defeats,

To sing this song is strange

To be alien to fog,

to listen to whispers un-alert,

nor to feel the gaze of trees as I tip

toe through the city,

I went to graveyards and sought

out the graves of poets –

thinking it would help,

to drink a little wine with

comrades – I thought –

there too I heard the sound of


of longing

there too laments rang from

stone to stone

chained in pain

together with the birds

and sparely leafed trees,

in the beat of walks and talks,

In moments of work,

I lament inwardly,

I sculpture but do not utter…

I gaze but do not see

I know the moon but do not feel

its weight

somewhere in between pain and

something normal – something

content, I linger

in choked tears

with a choked voice

glistening with disregard

I linger in rickshaws and the

company of crows

un-alert to the songs of tomatoes

the beauty of pomegranates

I went to Shah Jamal

lit two charaghs

said a few prayers

called out to saints and jinns

smoked a few joints

I conversed in silence with heroin

addicts –

each face cacheted like a grave


 each face holding lines of fortitude mixed with

stories i will not know

I felt with them only the

hopelessness of it all

and a little solidarity – they told


‘the departed leave us with no


nothing changes fate

nothing brings back the dead

nothing comforts

neither graves

nor prayer

numb the pain with drugs

and the salutations of the lost’

 it was good company…

…but did nothing for the heart…

I don’t know how to contend with

the heart in winter

The night of separation clouds

every colour,

the whole winter…

Illustration by author. 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Naked Punch © 2024. All Rights Reserved.