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Published in the 1-15 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

The Return

The narrow, stony street was startled, and it spoke:
'Perhaps it is him.'
The sunlight gently moving up, step by step,
Paused for a moment,
As if it were tired and wanted to get its breath back.
'Is it really he who is come?'
It asked.

The wind, its strength failing like an old woman's
Spoke in its crone's voice:
'I can smell his nice familiar smell;
He was always the playful one, it must be him who's
come back.'

The old doors had gone to sleep, their eyes shut tight
'We see little, but maybe it is him,' they said. 

His old marble that he played with as a child,
Under tons of earth for sixty years it has lain,
Just around the corner where the street turned.
But today it suddenly came to life.
'O come to my aid, please,
Release me from my grave, O please,'
It said.

'Yes, it is him,' the sunshine said
'But it is not the child I knew,
Who's lost somewhere in the recesses of time.'

The old doors opened their eyes,
'We know him; it is the boy
Only he is grown tall like his father,'
They said.

The narrow, stony street spoke now,
'For all those years that are past,
I have preserved the imprint of your tiny feet on my
His old marble that lay under tons of earth,
Now screamed,
'O let me get out!
Please get me out.'

Which was when the old woman wind
That had stopped in its tracks,
Burst out laughing;
'So, let's see who we've here," she said.
"Your cheeks, your eyes, your hair, your face
Nothing ,but nothing has changed.
But where have you been all these years?
Promise you will keep coming back.



By Satyapal Anand

A poem expressing feelings of the poet following a visit to his birthplace after 52 years. Professor Satyapal Anand visited his native village Kot Sarang, Tehsil Talagang, District Chakwal, Punjab, Pakistan for the first time after his migration to India. Dr. Anand retired as chairman of English Department, Punjab University in Chandigarh and now teaches at the University of District of Columbia (Washington) and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Zafar Iqbal,

Tang pathreeli gali ne chaunk kar awaz di
-Shayid wuhi hai!
Dhoop, jo aahistgi se seeRhian chaRtey huey
Bey-dam si shayid thak gai thi, aik lehza ruk gai
-Kiya waqayi whoh aa raha hai?

Zouf ki maari huyi booRhi hawa ne popley munh se kaha Main uski khushbu soongh sakti hun
Wuhi nat-khat hai, wapis aa raha hai!

BooRhey darwazon ki aankhen band theen
-Kuchh bhi nazar aata nahin, shayid wuhi ho!

Uskey bachpan ka khilanDra dost, ik kancha
Jo pichhlet saaTh barson sey

Gali key aik koney main manoN maTTi key neechey so raha tha Kulbali kar cheeKh uTha,
Al-madad! Koyi mujhey bahir nikalo!
Haan, wuhi hai, dhoop boli,
Par who bachcha jisko main pehchanti thi
Aaney waley mard dil main kahiN gum ho gaya hai.

BooRhey darwazon ne aankheN khol deeN
-Pehchantey hain ham isey, laRka wuhi hai
Baap ki maaNind lamba ho gaya hai!

Tang pathreeli gali boli,
-Main kitni peeRhion se
Nanhey qadmoN ke baRey hotey huay sab naqsh
Apney jism par sambhaal kar rakhti rahi huN.

CheeKhta kancha manoN maTTI ke neechey ro diya 
-Main kaisey nikluN?
Aur phhir booRhi hawa jo dam-bakhud si ruk gayi
thi Khilkhila kar haNs paRi
-Aao, zara deikheN,
Tumhare gall, aaNken, baal, chehra to wuhi hai
Itni muddat tak kahaN gum ho gaye thay?
Ab kaho aaya karo gay?

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