|Art: Malkit Singh|
They never knew you, who only recall
your smashed golds and broken reds:
those flashing conceits, tropes of a night too dark
to spell out by the fading glow of words;
those surfaces that melted as you spoke,
laying bare depths in which we’d drown
without a pilot’s full-throated voice
to bridge us to land. And as you sang,
a starburst of paisley moths lit up
our eyes behind closed eyelids, dark cells
unlit by thought of such a dawn.
You never meant to trap us in that country
without a post office, where boatmen and saints
trade stories to while away the days
of khaki captivity. No, Beloved Witness,
these were signposts you’d sketched
at the lake’s treacherous edge, to break our fall
as we hurtled down the foothills of policy.
No, your smashed golds and broken reds
were never laments: not yesterday’s colours
but tomorrow’s, they summon us to hope.
They never knew you, who only recall.
~ Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, cultural theorist and independent curator. He is the author of 20 books, including Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005, in which the poem featured in this issue first appeared.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
flickr / The US Army
On 1 December 2013, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the US of cutting fuel supplies to Afghan security forces. Despite US pressure, Karzai continues to stall the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement.
From our archive:
Subel Bhandari looks at the Strategic Partnership Agreement, noting its avoidance of contentious issues. (April 2012)
Vijay Prashad reviews Syed Saleem Shahzad’s Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, discussing Taliban strategy in the context of NATO withdrawal. (October 2011)
Aunohita Mojumdar explores questions of accountability in relation to the West’s “hasty exit strategy”. (February 2011)