Zu’l Qarnain journeyed to Mount Qaf;
He saw it was formed of a bright emerald,
Forming as it were a ring round the world,
Whereat all people are filled with wonder.
He said, “Thou mighty hill, what are other hills?
Before thee they are mere playthings.”

Jalaluddin Rumi (13th century CE), Masnavi I Ma’navi IV:9

This particular passage, taken from one of the many writings of the great Sufi poet Jalal-ad-Din Mohammad Rumi, tells us of the mighty Alexander (Arabic: Zu’l Qarnain) travelling to Qaf on his eastern quest for the water of life and hoping to meet on its…


We will always have the tangerine sun

and the bespectacled moon;

engaging in mirth and a tempestuous

game of hide and seek. We will always

have mini monsoons and cypress

trees, spiralling into the cloudless sky.

Seared limbs and denim jackets, the lazy

sweltering, August sun;

burning into our backs. We will always

have the silent, gilded, frosty nights

and the warm raucous laughter.

The soft smoke curling around us

as we speak, we shall always

have it all; In the mind’s eye, at least.


I watch the soft unfurling of the fisted flowers
tiny buds, competing to reach
the finish line
the slight trembling of the trees
swaying to the Northern winds
and the gathering of the crows
in the quiet, misted mornings.
There isn’t much to say except
watch with complete bewilderment
how the world as you know
transforms
in the passing of the days
in the shadow of the night
and
in just a blink of an eye


It was a lazy Sunday afternoon in one of the largest public parks in the city; my friend and I were lazing about on a picnic blanket and listening to Mehdi Hassan crooning from the Bluetooth speaker. A nice spread layout before us; Doritos and a cheap store-bought hummus. We were leisurely dipping each chip into the garlicky sauce; licking it off the tips of our fingers. The cold December wind was whipping around us; leaves lay scattered on the ground and we were at peace. Two women, against the big bad world. All was good.

But of course, as…


So much of poetry is sad,

words tied together in uncomfortable
knots, smudged with tears and streaked

with memories.

So much of poetry, is grief.

Horrific howling, and the undiluted rage.
The dragging of the silence,

and the sinking of the heart.

So much of poetry is numbing.

The dark nothingness, the wide spacing between the
letters.

The absolute finality of it all.

But sometimes, so much of poetry, just is.

Rusty engine types, gathering dust in the
shelf types; the kind that has not seen
the light of the day type.

So much of poetry,

yet, it is never enough somehow.


Countries that make up the ‘Next Eleven' — South Korea, Mexico, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam

Economists often refer to Pakistan as one of the ‘Next Eleven’ developing countries, and soon to become one of the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. Present fastest-growing economies all share one thing in common, and that is the rise of renewable technologies. Although Pakistan has many ways to go before it can properly establish itself as a country running on renewable energy completely; in some ways, it has already existed in our region since the dawn of civilization.

Renewable energy refers to the energy that comes from a natural process or sources, which do not replenish over time…


The first thing that comes to mind, are the checkered tiles. Although, hidden from the public eye, somewhere on the first floor of the building; it is the tiles that hold the memories wedged in between the tiny gaps among them. Weddings, funerals, Dholkis, the occasional game of tag, human chess and the many drops of rain that graced its glossy surface. The tiles, in short, carry decades of joy and grief altogether.

It was a two-storey house, situated smack in the middle of a small colony called Hadinagar, in the city of Hyderabad itself. Now if you’ve ever been…


Gossamer pink sweeps the hard granite floor,

In the stillness of the stars; a sea of belly rolls.

Chalk-white skin dabbled with rouge,

Painted lips and a frantic deluge.

Women of all shapes and sizes; swirling endlessly

The gala, the feast; and the awakening of the proverbial beast.

The dull thud of the desert drums;

Ululating crowds and gyrating hips.

Suns and moons resting atop

Glistening necks; entire constellations

Streaked across the eyelids.

Laden in petals and scented in musk,

In the midst of it all —

The cocooned flower;

The pearl in the oyster shell.

Encased,

Decorated,

And presented.


Baked loaves dangle in the window display,

Akhtar rolls and kneads and rolls and kneads

until it is flattened. Leavened. Straightened

and stretched to the nth degree. He lathers it with

butter, smooth silky yellowed glaze,

tossing it as he does. His labour of love is thrown

into the fire, embers licking its edges as it rises

and falls. Akhtar wipes the sweat off his brow.

He is an acrobat, a magician, a scientist

and an artist all rolled

in one.

Originally published at http://mysticmajor96.wordpress.com on September 19, 2020.


“Her keyser euch hilft nicht das swert
Czeptir vnd crone sint hy nicht wert
Ich habe euch bey der hand genomen
Ir must an meynen reyen komen

Translation:

Mr Emperor, the sword doesn’t help you;
Sceptre and crown has no value here.
I have taken you by the hand;
you must come into my dance.

-From Oberdeutscher vierziliger Totentanz

The word ‘Oberdeutscher’ is used to refer to the name of one of many Germanic languages, spoken in the Upper German, and the word ‘vierziliger’ refers to the four lines in each stanza. Together these words make up the verses of…

Hiba Memon

Third-culture kid, dividing time between the UAE and Pakistan. An engineer by the day and a writer by the night.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store