‘Bottle Like People’

‘بوتل جیسے لوگ’

سنا ہے ہزار آنسووں کا سفر
وہ بے بہا نمکین آبشار کا گزر
شروع اک ننھا خدشہ مثل صفر۔
بوتل جیسے لوگ بہت
خدشوں کو اپنے میں بھرتے ہیں
سنیچ سینچ کر اپنے غم بھرتے ہیں
آہ و الم کی شراب کشید کرتے ہیں
حتیٰ کہ ڈاٹ دور تلک پھٹتی ہے
رنج کی چاشنی لہو لہو شراب انڈلتی ہے۔
چیخوں اور غصہ کی متلی پھر
اک بار پھر ‘سکھ’ میں بدلتی ہے۔

‘Bottle-like People ‘

The journey of a thousand tears,
That cascading fall of salty water,
Begins with a single fear.
Bottle the fears
Stuffing and shoving
Every bitterness
A flavour –
Like aged wine.
Till the time comes
Out pops the tightly held cork
Effervesence of emotions stiffled.
Rinse and wipe your mouth,
Afterwards like a good purgation.


The Gift (poem)

The Gift ( poem)

Suraiya coaxed her daughter Amna,
A dingy room is where she took her.
Rites of passage to womanhood
Is marked with a gift.
No other words exchanged
For the girls at school
Bullied her for being a ‘ girl’.
‘Not yet a woman’.
The little girl oblivious
To the slurs
Found meaning all too soon
Without verbal or sacred explanations.
A razor raised by rough hands
Spread and touched her
Where no one should.
Excruciating pain.
And shrieks.
But no muscle on
Her mother’s face flinches.
“It will be fine.
You’ll be a woman.”
The only words uttered,
To a bleeding seven year old.
Legs tied.
Groggy with pain.
Still no sign of painkillers.
For fourteen days,
She cries and bears
The rites of passage.
And finally on the fifteenth day,
She has earned the rite.
She crosses over to the ‘other’ life;
With the gift of infection,
Another ‘woman’ had died.

—Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)


FGM is an unIslamic and barbaric practice that must be banned and condemned. It has gone on for far too long in the  fake shroud of cultural practices. Women for women. Women for their own daughters and sisters.



Lessons from the Birds

Lessons from the Birds

Have you not seen
The birds flying in a flock?
Held in mid-air
Soaring on the air currents,
By Al Rehman?
Have you not seen…
That when one is tired
And flies low…
Leaving his position
Of the leader of the flock,
He glides back
To fly in
Another’s tutelage?
But doesn’t give up.
The air pressure decreases
As does the strength.
Taking turns
To migrate to a favourable place;
Their destination.
But they don’t ever give up.
They remain;
A flock.
A team.
A pack.
So, when your brother is hurt or dismayed
Pull up your socks
And be there.
For one good deed
From you is all it takes.
A few kind words
To help him get back up.
A dua …
To raise his ranks.
A shoulder
Onto which he can momentarily rest.
Perhaps, this little deed will be the one
That puts you in Paradise.
And let you hear the words
“Razi Allahu Anhu wa Radu.”*

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)


* “Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.”

“To the Ones Who Only Pray”

“To the Ones Who Only Pray”

I’m not innocent Maryam AS
Who bore a child and faced inhumane slurs
On her chastity.
I’m not Yusuf AS who fought against desire,
And won after seeing Burhaan from Him
While Zuleikha tempted,
Tearing at his shirt.
And, I am not Adam AS
Whose loneliness
He saw and blessed
With a loving companion.
A desolate, woman
I am buckling under
And struggling to get back on my feet,
And to the ones who pray;
I’ll tell Him
On The Judgement Day
To question those
Whom I approached for help.
“What did you do when
My slave came to you for help…?”
Will your answer suffice that:
“Lord, we prayed for her. Nothing else.”
For I will, too.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)



Wrapped between the betel quid,
Sticky sweet roses fade,
Aromatic and fresh,
Yet their own colour has bled.
Lying between slaked lime
To cut a tongue into an ulcer
And the brown earth of kathaa.
Stuffed between the cheeks
Of a lecher or haseena;
Or that of a couple
From a cheap cinema.
The pure
And innocent rose petals
Immortalised and
In a cheap green tavern bed;
Trapped and tainted innocence.

Hafsa Siddiqui


Blood Caked Rhymes (A Dedication)

A fellow writer and poet penned an amazing poem,”Leeches”. The lines written below are my meagre dedication to her mettle. These are for you, Hareem Fatima! 💛

Throbbing with greatness,
Each line a pulse!
Let the leeches
Feed off
From the bloodstream
Pouring forth from a hearth.
Mould your bleeding words
Into blood caked rhymes
Pick up your pieces,
For every clot smiles.

©Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)