a poem …

Niaz Betab is destined to make a name for himself one day; so I believe.

Creative writing is a craft – crafting thoughts into words and like all crafts, this one also needs dedication, perseverance and hard work. If he can take up this challenge, then the road to success is there, beckoning him

Like all creative writers he likes to have an audience to listen or read his latest piece. A couple of days ago he messaged and sent a link, asking me to read his new poem – “ The Gravedigger” what a formidable name, I thought. But still I read it. The first reading didn’t open anything that would make some lasting impression. I left it on the ‘burner’ to ‘slow cooking’ and the ‘aroma’ started wafting. I picked up the poem again at night and slowly, read it to the end and decided that this definitely is an outstanding poem of resistance.

Like all resistance poetry, “ The gravedigger” tells the reader something ( atrocities in Balochistan) and confirms something (killings and kidnappings) that the reader already knows.

“ ……

I started digging a well out of this earth
To water my village
But each time, every time, I miserably fail
For my tools deceive me (his teary-eyes directing mine toward his hands)
Or perhaps our (Baloch) land likes the opposite
You see, each time I start for a well
I’m condemned to end up with a grave
Thus graves all around!”

“water” symbolizes life and prosperity which is denied to the people.
For my “tools” “deceive” me(his teary eyes directing mine toward his hands)
“hands” is yet another meaningful symbol.
“ or perhaps our (Baloch) land likes the opposite”

All of these in my view are meaningful symbols and tell the inside story of Balochistan. Resistance poetry tries to engage the reader’s mind to think – not just’ thoughts’ but to think in actual, decipherable, easy to comprehend thoughts in words. Words that could be spoken out loud and understood by all; and I think this is what the writer is doing here.

“We turn to poems most urgently, perhaps just when we feel that our choice among course of action(in public matters or elsewhere) is no choice at all, and that nothing we do in a world wholly outside ourselves can resolve the genuine conflict we face “ (Stephan Burt)

There is so much more in this poem and to understand and appreciate that, one needs to read it carefully.

Riffat Murtaza
Orlando, Florida.
12/23/2014

In the evening dust It was a heap of shadows But as I approached It rose to an old man His face bathing in tears – big, dark, menacing, droplets Tears of defeat, tears of despair, helplessness…
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