“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.


“Aching for Sunshine”

Aching for Sunshine

Trudging along a carpet of white,
In my snow boots I try to hide,
The forlorn footsteps of summer sprite.

The warmth of the sunshine,
With which your soul alights,
And summer fruits with colours, bright.

©Hafsa Siddiqui (2017)



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..