Poet: Muhammad Nasrullah Khan
I met a child, a flower spilling from a greenhouse.
Long vanished, Eden’s flora bloomed,
cradled in the arms of nature.
Water dripped like rain from soft petals,
while a breeze mused his curly hair.
He bloomed quietly in a garden
and I was a wind-ripped lake lost in wilderness.
An unforgiving, relentless soul.
I could not expose to him my gloomy being.
I turned away,
Yet still he spoke.
“No, please don’t hide from me.
I’ve seen you in this meadow before.
You dived deep into the stream.
darting among colorful fish.
You leaped into the sky to touch a flying bird.
Once you chased a butterfly, before you disappeared.
Did you catch her?
Why are your eyes so cold?
When did your hair turn white?”
Facing him, I smiled:
at his innocence
and the bitter sweetness of my memories.
And gave my answer.
“That butterfly carried me to strange lands
of pain and starving, war and dying,
The Demons rose again.
And like the sad, dark history of our land
our new story was written in stone.
Now life hides in graveyards,
and skeletons dance at night.”
My words faded; my eyes closed.
I couldn't bear to witness
how what I've said changed the boy.
The child touched my face
and washed away my scars of sorrow
like rain sweeps dust from dry hills
“Who is this man talking to? Himself?
Is he hugging himself?
Perhaps he's crazy.”
But they had it wrong.
I wasn't lost any longer.
I'd found me.