Only Human

Fist meets her soul
With earth-shattering force
I’m only human
He whimpers
Knowing how she unravels

A thousand apologies
Splinters on her flesh

She pulls them out
Over time
Leaving scars in their place
She knows she must flee
He’s only human
Like me

So she stays

© Rabia Bashir 2014



The Colour Green

Bangladesh, Sylhet, Kuru Gao is it’s name
Or Nanny’s Bari (village) as we all grew to claim
That’s where my mind heads at the mention of green
A place of fond memories, cacophony, serene

You knew you’d left the city as the boredom ebbed away
The sight of lush rice paddies, the odd bull chewing hay
Then the narrow man-made road would come to an end
We’d jump out the van, walk the path nature intends

Screaming young cousins, bare foot and running swift
Would catch up to us laughing, our luggage they’d lift
In the distance she’d be waiting, Nanny in a white saree
Her heart so full of joy, in plain sight, roaming free

Slipping on monsoon mud beneath towering trees
As we raced to murky green pool, amidst the warm breeze
With snakes and stories of ‘dhewla’ creatures within
I sat watching on bamboo steps, where crabs pinched my skin

Nanny’s late afternoon snacks, were always perfectly timed
We’d be gathered outside, to watch trees being climbed
Coconuts would soon drop by our darting little feet
Grapefruit salad, mangoes, peanuts – better than sweets

Many years have now passed since my Nanny was there
To visit Kuru Gao without youth, my heart wouldn’t bear
So instead I delve in, and search beyond the smokescreen
And I’m back in Nanny’s Bari at the mention of green


© Rabia Bashir 3rd February 2014 All Rights Reserved


Colours of London

Crisp autumn leaves of all sizes
Yellow, orange and brown cartwheels
Along grey concrete
Dance past my slow feet
Towards a destination
Dictated by the wind

A nun dressed in black
Stark contrast to
The colours of my hijab
Acknowledges me with
A warm knowing smile
Our love for God binding us

Four young women
Hailing from regions afar
Talk of their customs back home
Over noodle soup and pad Thai
Their animated ambitious faces lit up
By the hanging lantern above

An African man wearing a black skull cap
His bright ethnic clothes his stamp
A short woman, yellow handkerchief scarf
Selwar kameez and pale skinned heels
They walk side by side
Too close to feel like strangers

The next train is approaching
So many differences yet
We move in unison
Heads bent and plugged in
Thumbs tapping, index fingers scrolling
Minding our business while minding the gaps

Soft centred souls of all sizes
White, brown and black strides
Along the grey concrete
Dart past my hungry eyes
Towards a destination
Dictated by our hopes

© Rabia Bashir 2014 All Rights Reserved


Pillaged Souls

My head used to reside amongst fluffy white clouds
In the days before I tuned into broadcasts of wars
What begins as protests and a thirst for overdue rights
Ends in orphaned children, their faces red raw

It’s Animal Farm all over again, but played out by us
How power corrupts and pillages souls, it absolves
Resolution for peace aches in hearts, but few wade in
And the rest of us watch or take part as humanity dissolves

© Rabia Bashir 1st January 2014 All Rights Reserved


A Boy’s Smile

Two different homes, his parents apart
School holiday splits, on both calendars marked
Displays of framed photos, in each house they stand
Show a boy smiling, they misunderstand
He’s prompted to grin, in each moment they fake
To prove to themselves, the divorce no mistake

A few years later, settled in double life
Manipulating through guilt, he’s become more and more wise
But dad lets me do it, so he gets his own way
Mum buys him new games, he’s so lucky they say
He’s mastered his smile, and learnt to put on
A custody battle, from which he has won

More years have passed by, he is now a young man
Unsure of his feelings, his existence a scam
Mistrusting of people, his cynicism reeks
Yet he carries his smile, so you think him not weak
Gives girls his words freely, though never his heart
To understand him completely, they must go to the start

© Rabia Bashir 12th December 2013 All Rights Reserved


King of The Desert

I once ruled the desert, my worth knew no bounds
My resilience was awed, against sandy surrounds
All the while praying, mounted on my smooth back
Cultured men fought and chased faraway tracks
More than just a creature, their family I became
Adorned with fine silks, and treated the same

I once ruled the desert, those days now long gone
My legs are bound tight, my glory outshone
A mechanical bearer,  on where I now sit
Watched by beloved desert, I feel her teeth grit
Passing shiny cold sculptures leaping up to the sky
Exhausted slaves toil, my heart it does cry

I once ruled the desert, why is this my demise?
The ransom of grease is no match for my pride
Once I stood proud, now I don’t feel the ground
Herded like cattle, my objections propound
If I reign no more, who sits in my place?
He brings dollars and pounds, albeit no grace

I once ruled the desert, carrying men on my back
Today men carry me, how cruel is that?

© Rabia Bashir 12th December 2013 All Rights Reserved

Image: King of the Desert, Egypt © Rabia Bashir 2013


Differing Ways

It’s cold outside I tell my Nan
As she buttons her coat
Her favourite green shawl
Wrapped around her twice
Over her coat and around her head

It is cold outside
I tell myself
As I pull on my gloves
And watch her step out
Her hands are bare
Have you no gloves Nan?
I can give you my spare

She shakes her head
As I stand in dismay
It’s cold outside
I tell my Nan
Never worn gloves
Is the answer I get

Her best years spent
In the heat of Bengal
Far from home
Where she stands today
In her saree and coat
And favourite green shawl

It is cold outside she says
Her frail brown hands
Slide deep into pockets
We begin to walk
Warming our hands
In differing ways

© Rabia Bashir 4th December 2013 All Rights Reserved

Image: Nan, It’s Cold Outside © Rabia Bashir 2013