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Shifa Maqba

Updated: Sat, 6 Feb 2021 07:24 am

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19 || Admirer of all things ordinary

The Enemy

The sun didn’t shine the day For him who took away His life along with others’- His future, his enemy, his lover. They say, “Keep your friends close and enemies closer.” But what do they say about a lover? Keep her the closest, he'd say if you asked him For he couldn’t grasp that until she died a death starkly grim. The weapon in his palms was cold, His slick hands out of control. The trigger that ended everything in minutes, Taunts him even today for a sin so grievous. He now lives elsewhere. Heaven or hell, he’s unaware. His soul is fed well with remorse, Like wildfire its agitation grows.

Flutters & Flurries

There's an odd calmness in the wind, The kind that brushes past your skin With little to no impact, Akin to a fleeting tourist on a craft. Somewhere else the wind's blissfully halcyon, Gently swaying tall trees and their folioles. It recites an old folklore To those who take note. The same wind weighs heavy elsewhere, Its weight pulping all the senses of the aware. Roaring and thunderous, Its yowl is the sole sound that reaches terrified ears. The wind is multi-faceted, Its form, to some pleasant, to others distorted. A welcoming embrace here And an opaque cloak there. I secure the wind and its manifold forms in the palm of my hand, Make it my muse, plaster it on the canvas that in a distinct corner stands, Bask in its cool that permeates me on the shore, Or tend to the morbid presence till it's no more.

Walls of Discord

The World Summit in 2050 entered a pact To build across nations walls, tall and wide. Deemed the most cogent Act, The affluent and the poor it sought to divide. Walls of boulders and bricks, Lathered in cement of prejudice, Stood erect like giants, robust and thick, All the while birthing rifts no one could fix. No breaches they sought to mend, Instead fostered them into canyons. Arrived a fresh set of developments, Lopsided and frowned upon. People decked in gold and white Basked in wealth that shone like sunshine; And marveled at the stars in the night sky; And worshipped gadgets with toothy smiles. Humanoid machines outstripped natal humans And swung around their necks leashes. Their bodies in all forms akin to the ones Who had once created these mechanical creatures. Left was no difference Between muscles and mechanics city-wide, But the blatant negligence could easily be sensed Among those who of grains were still deprived. Trussed up in their own vicious cycles Of poverty, hunger and illiteracy, They cooped up in dark tunnels. How could they flee? Eventually the earth took pity When the blazing sun awoke from the west, For doomsday made a sweltering entry And chewed away human existence. Collapsed those walls which sought To meliorate the world. Instead they begot wounds unable to clot, Wounds which were better untouched. It took Armageddon to discipline human wits And unite decaying bodies. At least the poverty-stricken districts Reeked of humanity.

The Silver Fox

The dense floor of the black forest, Glazed in moonlight with love, Donned footprints nimble and deft, Steering me to paths unheard of. On closer inspection the footprints glimmered, Their irradiance nearly blinding my eyes. When I stepped on them they burst into glitter, Coalescing with the trail of the moonlight. And that's when I knew my prey was near, The silver fox sitting on its haunches. Somewhere in the ostensible clear, Unaware of the hunter, precarious and dauntless. Eager, rather frantic, turned my feet For the fox whose shimmer Had beguiled me, enticed me, seduced me For as long as I could remember. The forest floor sleek and silky, Led me to my dear prize. There it stood in all its glory, My hirsute prey with translucent eyes. It ever so fruitlessly attempted to evade my sight, But as my rifle spat bullets right into its head It lost its fight. Alas! Its days of glory met their imminent end. I was astounded by what I found, As I scampered over to claim my prize. The truth behind the creature that lay listless on the ground, The truth that dampened the joy of its demise. Belonged to it neither shimmer nor mystique, Instead an enormous cavity within. 'Twas a sickly beast whose final moments had begun to tick Long before I'd laid my eyes upon it. And so I left the cadaver where it deserved to be, In the pool of its own blood, Prosaic and ungodly. With a resolution to erase this affair so dud.


An easel found its dwelling In a nook of a room Supporting a canvas which was waiting To be filled with hues, bright and blue. It presented its white face to the world Fresh and spotless. It was human, albeit devoid of flesh and blood Looking forward to being dressed. And so it embellished itself in blue; Its first cry. Never had there been tears as pure and true, As the blue paint that dried. The canvas could not speak So it added a stroke of red In frustration and defeat It chided those who to its woe were deaf. The canvas, still in its infancy Found joy in yellow. A stroke of mischief and tomfoolery Stood radiating amidst all the chaos and sorrow. Time passed by, And the canvas grew old. Gone were the days when it stood spotless and spry, Instead it bore the weight of the colors it soaked. But that was the only thing it knew how to do, Ingesting the colors as they entered its pores To produce an outcome from the concoction of muddy hues; An outcome, dismal and sore. The reds and the blues birthed purple, While tinges of greens chimed in to produce a muddy brown. At last black with a smug chortle Reigned the canvas, its head held high with a crown. The ruler masked the gamut of tints That once resided on the canvas. Despite its reputation, it wasn’t depraved It merely carried everything that fashioned it once. Beneath its surface, one can still find the first stroke of blue And those of red and yellow. Their endeavor to subsist still continues, Leaving behind tinges of joys and sorrows.

Through The Lens

I often think about those whose lives converge with mine. Run into them once, but there's rarely a next time. The contact is as fleeting as a nebulous illusion, But the pay-off worth a half-pie pennillion. All of us sheltered beneath the same sky, Overseen by the moon, pale and kind. How many eyes are ogling it this very second? And how many solely waiting for the sun, gilt and jocund? Tomorrow at dawn when I set out  To face a new crowd, I'll find people- nameless, faceless, ordinary. Some agile, some indifferent and others downright weary. In a street so astir, I spot a besuited woman whose fatigued eyes define her,  And at a distance, a shrivelled old man squeezing past the swarm Along with a gamut of entities acquiring humanoid forms. Here's a crestfallen face which demands a backstory, a background, And there's a gleaming one, the authenticity of which is unsound. An anthology of myriad stories is what amplifies their beauty, Especially those bits shrouded in mystery. Our ability to consolidate familiarity in unfamiliar places, And unfamiliarity in familiar spaces Is what intrigues me- A mere observer, a seeker of simplicity. 

The Tea Vendor

In the bustling streets of Mumbai Dwelled a shriveled old man, Who cajoled the city folk with cups of redolent chai He made with his sorcerer hands. Fingers deft, Spices perfect, Zeal undented, His exemplary tea cups couldn't be replicated. Every droplet of sweat and tea, Every thread of the scarlet scarf That hung round his neck lazily, Every crooked tooth, every etched crease Had been through a slew of losses in the past. But the clangour of his utensils Ballooned his heart with hope. He sought solace in his second dwelling. It helped him reach out to those who around him were no more. His rusty pot of bubbling chai Birthed flashes of a winsome bride and a wailing child, And that of the earnest friend From whom the stall had been inherited. But one day the brilliance of the bride's vermillion turned blue As thunderous clouds boomed. 'Twas the year bedlam plagued Mumbai. 'Twas the year 2005. Call it passion or madness, The old man made the rickety stall his residence. In a scenario so dire, He wanted his last moments to be worthwhile. Lay the man crippled under the weight Of the half-broken canopy that collapsed fully. Perhaps this was the grandiose departure he was destined to get. Perhaps the forsaken relics were destined to keep him company. Today, nobody visits the nook of the street Where the tea stall once stood tall. There's tea aplenty, but zero wizardry. Nobody takes a gander at the transient new tea stalls.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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John Marks

Fri 7th Oct 2022 22:01

I do hope that you are OK. I hate it when poets go missing. It is a dangerous world and I worry about you Shifa. John

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Aviva Rifka Bhandari

Thu 3rd Dec 2020 00:26

I've stumbled onto your profile page and what a fortunate stumble it was since I've really enjoyed reading all your samples and will certainly be exploring more of your writing. You seem to have a gift for using exquisite descriptors without making it seem obscure or heavy. It makes the poetry sparkle but the bulk of it is that the poetry is meaningful and purposeful too. Count me as one happy reader.

My favourites were and Flutters & Flurries, Walls of Discord, and Canvas

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Ghazala lari

Tue 27th Oct 2020 21:12

Thank you dear Shifa for appreciating the poem.?


Sun 4th Oct 2020 01:46

Thank you for your comment on "The Nature of Man"
I do not know who you are
but I will accept your compliment
because I like compliments.


Sat 25th Jul 2020 21:41

thank you for not commenting on "Goldfish"
when you run into this type poem
it's best to say nothing at all.

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John Marks

Fri 24th Jul 2020 23:38

Hey there Shifa. I suspect we are very different in externals and very much as one in the art of the word. Thank you kindly for your encouraging comments on my poems, they are very much appreciated. My intention now is to read every word you deem to write. That's not a threat but a promise! The 13th century AD (Christian calendar) Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, one of my favourite poets, a Sufi mystic from Persia, once wrote:" We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us" and , most tellingly, "Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

Good luck in all you do. You are a true poet. Best wishes - John

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Adam Whitworth

Thu 23rd Jul 2020 09:28

Glad you liked the poem. Thanks for your kind comments.


Mon 20th Jul 2020 10:29

Gosh Shifa - just visited your wall - what depths of thought I see in the graffiti of your labyrinths. Great stuff. P. ?

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Mark O

Fri 17th Jul 2020 17:48

Thank you for your kind comment!

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Nigel Astell

Mon 6th Jul 2020 13:28

Thanks Shifa for your like on Arch of Love

You seem to capture all the emotions on every line in your poem
The Enemy which I liked.


Mon 29th Jun 2020 15:24

I thank you Shifa for reading and leaving a comment!

Your work looks like how art should look. Welcoming and yet mysteriously presented where you want to look for more.


Nicola Beckett

Sun 28th Jun 2020 23:06

Shifa thanks so much for your comment on my battle with cancer, I met a new friend tonight, I've battled covid now the cancer love to you dear one x

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Anmolpreet Kaur

Thu 25th Jun 2020 06:54

Hey shifa i just updated my blog. I hope you like it and will be waiting for your reply


Thu 18th Jun 2020 11:05

Thank you for reading "The Fledgling"
a baby bird is helpless
until it has feathers
on its wings.

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