A Spark in the Ashes
“From the ashes a fire shall be woken” — J.R.Tolkien.
J.R.Tolkien’s poetic expression stirred the ashes in the sorrowful soul, blew them away a bit, and began to awaken the saddened muse, still in shock from the killing wave of Covid -19. It had struck harshly, crashing like a hurricane and suffocating like thick smog, taking our son-in-law to the land of No Return.
Death was striking all over the planet.
November 2020 dragged into December and a word flashed somewhere on the screen. It glowed and caught my attention: “Christmas Poems.” Wondering whether there was still time to submit, I texted a short query to the Editor, a listless halfhearted attempt on my part. I had read the name, which was the main reason it caught my eye. Hmm in Canada, so far away, was my first reaction, but soon my hesitancy vanished as the truth dawned on me: everything and everyone was so far away in these times. It’s Ok, I comforted myself.
The response from the editor was unexpectedly friendly and encouraging. It made me feel special.
Ah, Christmas is a time of new beginnings.
I had written some lines of poetry when I was in Nottinghamshire, UK, the fairytale land of Literature. I felt as if I was walking on the pages of history, stepping on cobbled streets, passing by dimly-lit lamp posts, gazing in awe at the high castle walls, imagining Robin Hood and his gang hiding in the nearby forests, hearing shouts and cries of “Aye” and smelling the odd aroma of wine. It was real, inspiring, and added greatly to my literary activities.
I submitted the poem. I knew the editor would like it, and soon came the reply: “This will certainly go in this issue.”
I smiled to myself though my heart felt heavy.
افلاک کی وسعت میں تںہا ہی رہنا ہے
نہیں چاہیے تھا دوری کا گماں کرنا
In the boundless universe
a star, destined to be alone,
kept in orbit, swimming,
should not moan, in its safety zone.
(My own translation of my Urdu poem)
And so, I found myself traveling to far off lands — the power of words pulling me all the way to WordCity, magnificently holy, clad in a white gown, and elegant in speech and style.
I am in my home town, where pine trees grow and snow falls, where skies are blue when clear, where quietude fills the atmosphere in the morning hours, along with smoke from coal fire in small braziers, surrounding the huge iron gates of training centers and boarding schools, providing some warmth to the guards on duty.
Summer days and nights are different though. More serenity prevails. A cold, white blanket covers the green and brown, but cannot hide the beauty beneath for long.
“There is not a particle of life that does not bear poetry within it,” Gustave Flaubert wrote. The quote led to more poetry.
Suddenly inspiration glowed; the golden rays sent warmth to the dying ashes, a spark flew and there was light all around, as if the sun had cut through the nimbus cover. I heard joyful laughter, and laughed a little at the humor. I saw blood on the hand cut by a broken cup, I sensed a sorrowful loneliness, and then I felt the soft finger tips of the expertly composed words of WordCity .
With respect and wonder, I share here what the muse gave:
Just on the other side, just a few thousand miles
across the globe, across the oceans, across the prairies,
it is cold, set to become colder,
yet it is absurdly beautiful,
poetry expressed in blue, on rugged rocks, on sentinel pines,
here beauty and severity go together.
I felt cold but strangely calm. My heart felt lighter as acceptance of Divine Will became stronger in me. A door closed only to open another. From the hot sandy lands to the cool snowy landscapes, poetry began to hum a new peaceful song, sweet in togetherness, warm with collective fire.
Just random but serious thoughts
Anjum Wasim Dar is a Kashmir, Migrant Pakistani. Educated at St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi. MA in English Literature & American Studies. CPE Certificate of Proficiency in English Cambridge UK British Council LSE.
Writing poems, articles and stories since 1980. Published Poet. Won Poet of Merit Bronze Medal Semi Final International Award 2000 USA. Worked as Creative Writer Teacher Trainer. Educational Consultant by Profession. Freelance Writer.
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