Afzal Moolla
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The tears she shed 
(my mother spent 27 years in exile during south Africa's freedom struggle. This poem is for her who is no more)

I remember the tears she shed,
as she longed for her distant abode,
she wept often then, as she pined for her children,
and felt the future looked bleak, on that dim, lonely road.

I remember the tears she shed,
when that telegram came one afternoon,
'regret to inform you stop father passed away stop',
She wept often after that, for their last goodbye had been said too soon.

I remember the tears she shed,
on that glorious day in a february not that long ago,
when the prisoner finally walked out, breathing the free air,
she wept less after that, for then she knew where they were to go.

I remember the tears she shed,
soaring high above the clouds heading back to her land,
those tears came out in soft sobs, but her eyes were smiling,
defiant and full of new hope, as she held tightly on to his wrinkled hand.

I remember the tears she shed,
some years later, on that peaceful late april morning,
when she stood and proudly bore the ink on her aging thumb,
she wept a lot that april evening, knowing that a new day was dawning.

I also remember that on a thursday not long ago,
as she was slipping away slowly, she seemed not to weep,
after all the miles and places, and after all the tears that she had cried,
I remember that she wept little then, as she drifted off into an eternal sleep.


Dedicated to the countless brave South African women who fought for peace, equality and a non-sexist and democratic South Africa.



For Dr. Maya Angelou.

Torn down by the day one may be,
Bludgeoned by the barren night,
faltering at times,
at times upright.

Still, one stands,
one still fights,
for though one falls,
one must rise.


a child of war...

as she lies bleeding
the girl who skipped and hopped to school
all of nine and a half years old
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father's pride

as she lies bleeding
the warm bullet lodged in her torn stomach
she stares at her skipping rope
as her blood soaks it the colour of the cherries her mummy buys

as she lies bleeding
she sees the people through the thick black smoke
blurred visions of scattering feet and shoes left behind
hearing nothing but the pinging in her blown-out eardrums

as she lies bleeding
she slips away quickly and then she is dead
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl
whose laugh was her father's pride

as she lies bleeding
for even in death she bleeds some more
the warm bullet wedged in her torn stomach
steals the light from her bright little eyes

as she lies bleeding
in jallianwala bagh in '19
leningrad in '42
freetown in '98
soweto in '76
jenin in '02
hanoi in '68
beirut in '85
kabul now
basra still
gaza too

as she lies bleeding
this little nine and a half year old girl
whose laugh was her father's pride
we know she'll bleed and bleed some more
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn
with that warm bullet in her stomach 
ripped open and torn

as she lies bleeding.



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Copyright, 2012, Afzal Moolla.
All rights reserved.