Pakistan Movement by Alamgir Hashmi

Pakistan Movement
by Alamgir Hashmi


Movement, sure. Millions moving
From that side to this side,
From this side to that side, and back again sometimes,
Across the thoughtful movement
Wherein stood those who were undecided, and suspect,
Like border-posts signifying the mid-frontier.
The sultry summer-if you know what I mean-behind us.
The blistering journeys on foot, the grinding oxcart
Expeditions, the slow, steamy railways
And their marauders behind us.
The slit throats of the nobility, the malfunctioning
Desire, England’s fond promises,
And snuffed-out love of the communal streets;
Their moonlight shadows of lead; the changing of the colours
And ‘47’s burning cities behind us.
Think this is where we wanted to be
From the beginning of our time;
A land as beautiful as a poet’s dream;
Or even before he found it,
The Arab sailor’s act of faith.


I have surely come across it before
In one of the books, or what I imagined on an alien shore
Perhaps appointed by time for a landfall.
That’s my boat, these my oars; the sail’s down.
The movement’s upwards from the south
And the choice considerable,
For the compass might be affixed
By some dusky Eskimos. I can tent up in a high-rise,
Wait out the passing plane through starlight, till dawn.
The sea-loins skid on imaginary ice, transfixing the world
With a new axis of summer. Their eyes turning, liquid, green.
The granary of the north gets a southward push,
Into freedom, and feeds nearly everyone-
Until the quaking elements rumble again in the earth’s belly
And split the land beyond rejoicing;
The furrowed fields like the cracks in time
Scotched inside a number. A kind of fall;
But the people rising everywhere, free to grow
How they will, if they will.


It is the cyclical crops I was looking at—
And the interminable deltas of hope,
Where the rivers are either in torrent or slow endless flow,
The past being a curious valley, the present tense,
Future’s the only flower worth tending in this earth,
Where I sow my words; and you know,
These good trees bear fruit round the year, discretely,
Moving along the waterways
And four seasons of the faithful sun.


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