​The Big Picture  The Small Mirror

My mother was from the green salvation tribe

She spoke the language of the people of paradise   

She put on a silk chador of faith 

Her heart was like God’s empyrean

majestic as His truth

And no one knew that I heard God’s voice 

in the beatings of her heart     

And no one knew that God was in our house

And that the sun rose when she began to talk  
My mother was from the green salvation tribe 

She put on a silk chador of faith 

When my mother walked to me

on each of her small footprint a small window would open

into which I could see the green gardens of paradise and

pick my fortune fruit from the top branch of an apple tree
My mother was from the green salvation tribe

She put on a silk chador of faith

Her forehead resembled God’s loveliest song’s exordium 

which I droned everyday in a lyrical tone 

and then knew what a God’s poem meant
My mother was from the green salvation tribe

She spoke the language of the people of paradise  

And waited for a white pigeon to come and wash

its lovely feathers every morning 

in the paradise’s most crystal springs 

And the white pigeon read His message to my mother

from a sacred sphere of the Koran
My mother was from the green salvation tribe

She has such an extended family history 

that only the sun can remember it

And the sun told me that when she was born 

her father lighted a candle in a leprosy home

to mourn the decline of his tall, straight figure

And the sun told me that my mother with her sacred thumb

turned the pages of her life book 

to search the meaning of the word “smile”

Unfortunately she couldn’t memorize the happy meaning 

of smile until the last moments of her life 

My mother was familiar with crying and could derive 

a thousand derivates from “crying”

My mother in a thousand languages had kept the bitter meaning 

of crying in the dark memory of her eyes

And my mother’s eyes — mirrors of God’s manifestation —

had an excellent memory
My mother was a stranger to the spring; 

her life was like a trail of ants 

that passed from the grand rock of misfortune 

stricken every season by dark clouds of malice and insult

And everyday my mother would pick up from there  

bundles and bundles of flowers of misfortune 

My mother was patient as a stone

When my father sailed his small emotion boat 

on the red shore of fury 

my mother would seek refuge on the beach of tolerance 

and wipe her tears with the corners of her chador

and united with God
My father was a strange man 

When my father tied his turban of pride around his head

he thought the sun was a white pigeon 

which flew off his high shoulders 

And he thought he could ration the sunlight for my mother

And he thought the moon was a colorful worry bead  

that he could hang from his horse’ high mane 

My father was a strange man

When he called me before him 

I felt a disaster was looming a few steps from him

And my words were like frightened sparrows 

which left my mouth’s autumn-stricken orchards

And fear was a dirty shirt, which disfigured my real complexion        

When my father called me before him 

my speech blood ceased to flow 

in the red vessels of my tongue 

And at that time my mother’s heart was a bright crystal

flashing freely in the depth of the darkness valley 

And my mother watched her destruction in the broken mirrors 

of perturbation and waited for an event to occur  
My father was a strange man

When he tied his turban of pride around his head 

his small empire would appear before him 

within the four walls of our house

And then he would lash freedom, which was me 

and life, which was my mother,

and shackled both of us
May her soul rest in peace! 

She still thanked God and prayed for my father:

May God keep his shadow over our heads!
Peshawar, July 2002

Translated by: Dr. Sharef Fayez

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