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Ode to Reading – A Poem from Punjab

Ode to Reading – A Poem from Punjab
Image Courtesy: The Well Read Woman

Naqi Bokhari, an eminent poet and writer of Pakistan, hailing from Punjab, the Land of Five Rivers, shares his poem

Naqi BokhariNaqi Bokhari’s enchantment with poetry has blossomed over the course of nearly sixteen splendid years. He weaves poems in three languages: Punjabi, Urdu, and English. His roots, deeply embedded in the fertile soil of Jhang District, Punjab Pakistan, have nurtured his creative spirit. His native village Thatta Fazal Shah is nestled along the serene banks of the majestic river Chenab. The river holds the timeless tales of Heer Ranjha, a classic folklore that springs forth from this very land. He has received influences of several thinkers, artists, poets over the years with the spirit of learning and developing his theoretical understanding of the world and the realms of art. He is influenced by Karl Marx, George Orwell, Octavio Paz, Jaun Elia (Urdu Poet and Journalist from Karachi Pakistan), Nasir Kazmi (Urdu Poet and prose writer from Lahore) and Edward Said. There are, yet, several other names from all around the globe whom he hails for their great works in the fields of sciences, literature, philosophy and arts. He values the creative, analytical and fair critical thinking as the profoundest and most sublime manners of experiencing life. His quest for knowledge led him to the University of Punjab, Lahore, where he immersed himself in the captivating world of English Literature. Presently, he imparts the beauty of English Literature as a lecturer in The Orbit Institute in Lahore. Beyond the realm of creation, he gracefully traverse the realms of translation, bridging the gap between cultures by rendering Urdu and Punjabi poems into the language of English. He is also translating world literature into his native languages such as Urdu and Punjabi.
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Image Courtesy: Medium

Ode to Reading

I read and become
An illusion, a myth,
The roar of a warrior thrilling the battlefield,
The desperate cry of a lover’s heart,
A tale of dying eye,
The spilling blood,
The conquering defeat,
The death chasing the helpless,
The bewailing of the mothers,
And the despair of the newlywed brides,
The loneliness of the widows,
The fear devouring the life,
An unending misery of the millions
Dying out of imposed deprivation
An elegy of the time,
A melody of the blooming morns,
A poem of a wise creator,
A brook of perceptions,
A bird of freedom,
A beast of burden,
The sweat and blood
Of the slave laborers,
A barn of dead corpses, burning and stinking
And what not!
I become what there is to be!
I read so I live,
I live a thousand lives
And meet a thousand ends
I read and live,
Live to the fullest
I climb the ‘Heights of Despair’,
And roam the lands of joy and ecstasy
I ride the chariots of words and wander
The kingdom of truth,
The vales of dreams,
The meadows of beauty,
I bathe in the falls of the eternal romance
I am haunted in the deserts of history
By hate and violence
By fire and fury
I escape to the caves of primitive world
I carve the stones
And craft the timeless miniatures
I hunt, and dance
And worship a thousand gods
I swim through the rills of time
I go through the ages, cultures and regions
The cities rise and are burnt before my eyes
I witness a thousand blind follies of the man
His ruthlessness, his kindness,
His brilliance, his stupidity
The rivers turn into ink
I meet the sages living in solace
I lament the murdered intellect
How many time man has buried the life alive!
Often I get lost in the forest of confusions
And the verses guide me to my destiny,
To the center of ‘the Labyrinth of Solitude’
I feed my soul upon the songs of silence.
Received the poem, poet’s introduction and photo from Jasna Gugic, an eminent poetess from Croatia  


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