The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Separating her young legs,
His manliness found a way,
And she reciting the durood shareef,
Fought her senses
To get done with the incest.
Take me,
Not my sister.
The sacrifice.

© Dr Hafsa Siddiqui


Commentary: This poem that I wrote almost a year ago, was asked to be taken down due to its objectionable content. We adults need to wake up to  what exactly our kids are facing. If all things will be under the rug swept, then more distorted and unhealed stories will continue to be written. Speak now. Act now. Care now. It matters to a child.


“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)

The Shopping Basket

The Shopping Basket


Stretched before a bustling supermart;
Busy people, busy lives.
Shopping for food and supplies;
A single woman
With empty hands, cries.
With money scarce
And love scarcer.
With words abound
But emptiness abundant,
She looks at families
With tearful eyes.
Shopping carts full
Of brand new toys,
Maybe a rack of lamb
To roast for the kids.
Chips and veggies
For the family dinner.
And then she looks at
Her own single servings.
Half a kilo, at max
Of everything.
Enough to last a week.
Her eyes span, again
On the horizon cast.
Toddlers in the aisles
Picking up stuffed toys
And with tantrums hoist.
Two little tears
Make eyes moist.
Eyes look down to her
Grocery Basket,
And with her lips
Escape the sighs.
She remembers well
Her siblings’ fights
Good natured
After awhile that reconciled.
But gone are the days
She weeps alone.
No shoulders
To rest her weary crown on.
Loneliness; has finally
Found home.


Hafsa Siddiqui


“Of Pebbles and Safe Havens”

“Of Pebbles and Safe Havens”


On the warm sand,
Overlooking the Arabian Sea,
With fingers so small,
The little girl
Arranges pebbles
In a tight concentric circle.
She builds a safe haven
Of grey and white forts.
A fortress of her own,
Or perhaps
A neighborhood
Of gentle souls
Residing in warm cottages
Through which wafts
The soft aroma
Of hot meals.

And beside the little girl,
Sits her single mother,
An Amazonian-
Momentarily shedding
Her facade
In an introspective spell.
The mother
With her gaze affixed
To the vast and azure
Melancholic sea
Lines up her broken hearted words
Onto the bosom
Of a crumpled envelope;
A mirage of free verse.
A letter printed
On the envelope itself.
And I stand looking
At the two generations-
Bobbing and drifting
On pebbles and pens.

©Dr Hafsa Siddiqui (2018)


Wrote this poem, based on a colleague who is a single mother and her five year old daughter.


“Winter Apparel for Olivia Twist”


Winter Apparel for Olivia Twist

Like the snug fit
Of a woollen sweater,
An embrace to
Melt the icy chills.
The cozy warmth
Of a pashmina shawl
Or a soft muffler
Placing its soft touch
On my otherwise
Exposed head.
The intimate hug
Of a pair of gloves
That is there with you
For every task.
And a pair of socks
That will match your step
On every path
Twisted or paved;
Indoors or
Braving the storms
Howling outside.
Or perhaps
A colourful quilt
Or a fuzzy blanket
To comfortably
Sweep you to
Dreaming of foreign lands.
With my empty bowl
Waiting in queue
For a serving of
Pasty Porridge
In Dickens’ orphanage…
I wonder
Where might I be able
To get a winter apparel …
Once I do outgrow
The orphanage.


Dr Hafsa Siddiqui


“Stranger in the Town of Love”

Faces merry and bright,

Cuddling lovers in the arms of yore,

I watch them all…

With my own artillery of

Dusky eyes and cold sighs.

Years have passed and I still remain

A stranger in the town of love.

Giggling children

Cheery smiles

Pouring forth from

Toothless smiles.

Mothers looking on

With a mix

Of annoyance

And pride.

And I still remain-

A stranger in the town of love.

—Dr Hafsa Siddiqui






Who travels by tram
In the old city
Of Karachi?
The ancient tracks bearing
Trash amidst
A dilapidated locality.
Wafting through
The waves of stink
The tracks
Speak a silent history
Of the old bustle of life.
Where life was valued
And things not left to ruins.
Yellow bricked buildings
Of the Victorian era
Were still cared for.
White sheets hung out to dry…
Narrow balconies in
The Saddar area,
Probably didn’t leak water
Of dubious origins;
Whether it is from the water tankee
Or used and filthy;
Cascading over urban terrains
Reaching your being
As you had to trudge along your destination.
The urban geography
Still had parks and clearings
Where children would play cricket
Without fear of breaking a window pane;
Before they disappear to escape the offence
And subsequent financial strain
Incurred by an angry neighbour.
But my city, is still breathing and alive…
It bears the scars and ruins of the splendor
Where once the octagenerians thrived.
The city of Edhi and his dedicated wife,
The city of philanthropists;
The city that houses many tribes
Foreigners and locals
From Afghanis to Bengalis
And the migrants from all tides.
Where one can sip doodhpati
At a dhabba hotel
And enjoy a crispy warqi paratha
With a thaal of malai
Either with friends
Or with family.
Shop for books
At old book stalls
Smelling in the fragrance
Of printed word
And smog.
The city I call home;
The city of lights.

—–Dr Hafsa Siddiqui

Inspired by the old railway tracks near the Tuesday Bazaar in my city and a few other things..