Agha Shahid Ali

(4 February 1949 – 8 December 2001 / New Delhi / India)

Storm Poem by Agha Shahid Ali


The rain dissolves its liquid bones
Humming the wind, the lightning grazes
the skin. A cloud descends :
My eye is vapour, this, the dream's downpour:
I must seal the tin-blue spaces.

I glued some scraps, made a paper boat:
Balancing a prophet's journey, the Great Flood in
the bathroom sink, I was six years old:
Mother, close the tap, Noah has
hit the night, his Ark will sink.

In the Atlantic's
pariah-blue, there are no survivors;
On the unsinkable Titanic,
I'm left all alone; Ice-bergs hide their whale-teeth:
I can't save Noah, God has picked his relic,

beaten me to it: He wears Noah, a charm
round His neck. On the empty deck,
no life-boat left, my fingers
capsize. My jacket
is ice, I hold on to its cold, to anything. Mother,

I'm alone, terribly alone.

Submitted: Saturday, June 16, 2012

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