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By Shaheen Sultan Dhanji - It Alone Knows

It Alone Knows

Like the patterns of a kitenge cloth, drum beats of time,
seasons close their eyelids,
softly touch her broken fragments,
and, the slashed and burn trees that once grew banana and cassava.
The wind alone enters into the tired bodies and murmurs softly.
No one interrupts its monologue.

The triumphant side of the 'Uhuru Street"
the barbed wire planted in the blood stained quarters
of the battles,
the wounded opening of --
African genocide.

Behind a shutter tearless eyes,
Flies dance on a six year old boy's neck,
His life-time companion is called HIV --they know each other's silence!
The gray dust speaks for the indifference of poverty.

A far away voice recites the Maghrib Azaan --
the prayer lasts until the redness of sun disappears --
Will a hungry flesh survive to see the dawn?
Where is human right to dignity
night and day?

Her dress made of a thousand alliances,
her green -red- blue fabric, her dark arteries,
her pride -
And, her stones reddened each day
by her lambency.

So that I watch her as she comes back to life,
as she attends to her living with time, with death,
with the denial of absence.
I watch her
as she invents this dream for the red earth of Africa.

This paper is our friend, it holds ever steadfast
Against the repeated stabbings
Of our pens
No one can stand
In the face of the sun
It alone knows
The way to the sunset

For Africa, the ink shall not dry.

(kitenge - African traditional cloth; Maghrib Azaan -Evening Muslim call to prayer; Uhuru - Freedom)



JMKELLAM's picture


You are an amazing writer. You words easily draw pictures and you can spread such important messages through your beautiful writing. Keep doing it and Ill keep reading it.

Thank you for sharing.

SSD's picture


Thanks for your kind words, JMKELLAM. Just saw your page as well, you are equally, if not more, a talent yourself! Let's keep inspiring each other. Thanks for visiting.

wanja's picture

Hi! What a beautiful piece


What a beautiful piece you wrote there!
I hope you publish your work for more people to read and share.
When i read your piece, i could almost see the images and was tempted to pick up a color pencil and shade in.

Thank you so much. Keep writing!




SSD's picture

Thank you

Dear Wanja,

Am deeply humbled that my piece tempted you to creative inspiration - thank you ! Please do pick up the colour pencil and share your thoughts with the rest of us - I would be looking forward to seeing the shades ignite a creative dialogue here !

If you have some time, do visit my blog at:

Best regards,
Shaheen Sultan

RachelinBrazil's picture

Poetry is a gift

To turn sadness into such art grants such respect to the suffering of others. You have a real gift for communicating emotion through poetry. So many of the colors of Africa are also present here in Brazil, where although people`s experiences today differ in some respect from their African sisters and brothers, the use of poetry, art, dance and music to express emotion is also key part of life.

Please write more!



Rachel Lovejoy
Sao Paulo, Brazil

SSD's picture

Thank you Rachel !

Dear Rachel,

Am so humbled at reading your thoughts. Africa is very dear to my heart - it is where I hail from, and must return one day soon to embrace my Red Earth, as I am currently living in Toronto, Canada and deeply miss Africa.
Yes, I totally agree that Brasil would not be any different as we share one common factor - the mighty countries have exploited our respective countries and it is about time we gain hold of what is left - for our future generation.

We should collaborate on a mutual project of interest - where common elements can ignite to spark a creative and intelligent dialogue. And, World Pulse is a strong platform to share and unite our differences and also seek plurality as one world, no?

Keep me in your prayers as I shall too.

Abrazos dear friend.
Shaheen Sultan Dhanji

nusrat1977's picture

Words acquire a healing power!

Dear Shaheen,
Thank you for sharing the beautiful poem! Shakespere has rightly said: “poetry is spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. Your words not only reflect the deeply felt pain in your heart, which is crying for the African genocide, for those sinking eyes and for those dying voices but it also touched the heart of all of us who are reading your poem. You have rightly said, paper is our steadfast friend, which tolerates the repeated stabbing of our pens. I have also realized, at times, when we express our grief in the canvas of paper, the words and the lines acquire a healing power and serve as a bam for the aching heart. 5 years back I was deeply saddened by a terror attack leading to series bomb blast in Mumbai, which blew up seven trains tearing many bodies apart. It was very shocking and scary. I know you people are living in similar conditions every day. The pain that I have seen and felt is very less in comparison to yours but I feel like posting the poem, which I had written back in 2006.

Vibrant Life
The night is dark and menacing...
Cavernous and deep is the wound ...
Excruciating pain and agonized heart...
Has filled the day with unspoken void...
But life moves on and on...

The trauma is shocking and distressful...
Apathetic is the wit and empty eyes...
Bewildered look and perplexed mind...
Ill-omened air is gloomy and ominous...
But life moves on and on...

Blows the message of resplendent tomorrow...
Sings the song of ecstasy and jubilation...
Instills the hope and resilience...
Fills the poignant heart with its vibrant spirit...
And it moves on and on.

Please never feel you are alone. We all are with you. You are heard; our voices are heard. I have deep faith in God and we have to keep our conviction on human values. One day these murmurs will create a great revolution and inspire the whole world to work towards bringing peace in every corner of this mother earth and bring smile in the lips of every child and this world will be a much better place to live with love, with dignity and with smile. I am sure such awareness and peace making steps have taken momentum worldwide and soon by collective efforts we will be able to erase the word ‘war’ and ‘terror’ from this world and replace it with ‘love’ and ‘peace. May God bless you and May God bless all of us. Amen.

Love and prayers

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

SSD's picture

Thank you, Nusrat !

Dear Nusrat,

I am deeply humbled by your heartfelt and reflective comment. I was borne and raised in Africa before migrating to Canada. Each day I have immensely missed my Red Earth and shall return soon as I can.

True, this poem can be situated anywhere in the world, as most of us have similar experiences that can not easily leave our minds - one cannot un-see what one has seen in a country where loss after a war has occured, where the fragmentation of society, religious tensions, inequality, war and defeat interrogates our world of the heart.

Many have lost their homes and identities in war and riots and live in 'exile' within their hearts - to live in their own silent voice - this saddens me very much, as such, platform like World Pulse unites people for a common purpose - to ignite a spark of creative and intelligent dialogue to bring lambency where darkness lives. Hopefully, we can seek a larger purpose and commence to collaborate together in seeking to make a difference - even if it is in small dimensions, it would be a start, no?

Thank you, again, for connecting and leaving your imprints here - I am grateful to share my poetry with those who have common human values and faith that shan't waver against all odds. You certainly have a pulse that can ignite a spark !

Keep me your prayers as I shall too. And, do keep in touch, dear friend.

Love & light,

nusrat1977's picture

Yes Dear we can make a difference!

Dear Shaheen,
I do agree. WorldPulse is a great platform to give us the opportunity to be united for a common purpose and collaborate to make a difference, be it a small one. After all little water droplets make a big ocean!
Its great to know that you are in Canada. I am trying to move in there too. Hope we will have opportunity to work together.
Luv and prayers

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

SSD's picture

Great !

Dear Nusrat,

I do look forward to collaborating on a project with you. We shall keep in touch and continue looking at pressing issues that needs a platform to address - let's think some ways to reach out. Talking about it is a start, though, we must look for ways to materialise our mutual pursuits.

Ah, Canada?! Well, I am in Toronto - do not hesitate to contact me ! Migrating is not easy, especially when we leave parts of us in our native country, so, be brave and welcome new beginnings. May your strife to move be an easy one that gives you immense strength. Wishing you lots of success, dear Nusrat. You can find a sister here !

Love & prayers to you as well,

nusrat1977's picture

Dear Shaheen

Thank you Dear for being a sister. Yeah the process of migration is very hard. I am trying to get into a job which will ease process a bit. I am applying at Toronto or ottawa areas. Hope I make it.
I will contact you sure.
Love and regards

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

Kara-Amena's picture

Life moves on and on

Nusrat - your poem is beautiful. I encourage you to share it and the story that inspired you to write it in a separate post so that more people can read it.

nusrat1977's picture

Thank you so much Amena!

Thank you so much Amena for your beautiful and encouraging words. I will put it as a separate post for sure.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

Kara-Amena's picture

The Wind's Monologue

Dear Shaheen,

What an amazing poem!! So rich and deep and moving. The imagery is stunning. And what a powerful way to convey your message and let us all know the "humanness in a human being".

I read some of your blog too :)

The line "they know each other's silence" gave me pause. I had to stop and let those words sink in, like seeing something that assaults our senses and is almost too sad to comprehend. Thank you so much for sharing your work and sharing your blog. These windows into the lives of our brothers and sisters around the world are the only remedy to the ignorance and hatred that dominate the news. I so appreciate feeling another life through your words.


SSD's picture

Thank you, Kara Amena

Dear Kara - Amena,

Am touched by your thoughtful comment and for sharing your voice here !

Yes, the 'pauses' are an endless angst in the lives of those who have lost and silenced their tongues from uttering pain - where pain also becomes numb. Platform like World Pulse is necessary to outreach and unite in solidarity to voice those tongues that need our strength -- this is what I mean by humanness in a human being - else what is this journey in life, if we were to remain spectators and not stand strong amongst the vulnerable?

I hope we can look for creative and intelligent dialogue to commence mutual projects on World Pulse platform and seek solutions through the corridors of impossibility.
Thank you very much for connecting with me and sharing your reflective thoughts here -- I am truly humbled, my friend.

In solidarity & light,

Kara-Amena's picture

Pain becomes numb

Dear Shaheen,

I know I am guilty of being a spectator whose pain has become numb. It's so easy to become desensitized to the atrocities of every day life around the world. I am sensitive and emotional by nature and sometimes it's easier to just shut down. The pain and suffering around the world is overwhelming. Even as a small child I remember watching the fundraising campaigns on t.v. for children facing hunger and just being overwhelmed with sadness, tears running down my face and a helpless pit in my stomach.

I am a big fan of collaborating on projects to "seek solutions through the corridors of impossibility". I prefer to be a do-er vs. a talker. There is a Vermont proverb that says "speak little, say much". That's not to oppose the writing and sharing and story-telling on World Pulse because I think that kind of talking is very productive. But we also need to take action - even in the smallest ways.

I have only been a member of the World Pulse community for ten weeks or so and I have already collaborated with a few different people on some great initiatives. I am shocked at how quickly I made connections on this site to help do good in the world. It's amazing how the thread of our webs intersect and the results that can be created from those intersections. I am also humbled!

Peace and blessings to you Shaheen!


SSD's picture

Thank you !

Dear Amena,

Thank you for writing your honest thoughts, I echo your strife to make it a better world. Yes, there are times when one feels completely saturated at being a spectator to the atrocities and feeling helpless not being able to make significant contributions to alleviate the global issues, BUT, the fact that you have such a big heart and a pulse that recognises the colossal social, political and cultural issues, this, is a grand awakening for you / us / whoever to leap forward. I thoroughly agree that just talking about it is not enough, we need to pursue action.... Though writing and sharing is crucial, but, then we must look forward to incepting the talks into action.

I think World Pulse has akin minds of you and I, hence, we should look for a project and align it with World Pulse' visions. Let's think about a mutual project of interest and commence on it - say, about one month of thinking out and planning to do something, then, we follow it into action. I welcome ideas as I shall share some with you too. Perhaps, year 2013 can be one that our mutual actions can be materialised, insha'Allah. It shall be a humbling reward to minds like us and to those who are in need of a voice. What do you think?

Peace & love,

Kara-Amena's picture

Keep me posted!

I would love to collaborate on something, if I can. I know Nusrat is interested as well. And I have some other World Pulse friends who seem equally enthusiastic. My current projects will consume me into January - but after that I may be game for some new good deeds. I have to keep that angel on my right shoulder very busy!!! :)

SSD's picture

Hurrah !!

Dear Amena,

Well, then, we got ourselves an agenda for 2013 ! Yes, we shall pursue a project together along with those who are interested and then pitch it to Jade (at world pulse) to get her feedback and participation as well. Lots to think about !

In the meanwhile, let's finish off this year's commitments that we both are shackled to ! Keep in touch as I shall too !

Cheers, Shaheen

nusrat1977's picture

Thanks Amena and Shaheen

Dear Shaheen and Amena,
I agree, lets finish this years commitments and start a project together with all those are interested. I am so happy to find you all.
Best regards

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ..........Hellen Keller

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