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Ashes of Inhumanity - by Shaheen Sultan Dhanji

Ashes of Inhumanity

Where does the colour of life traverse through after me?
Will my bones be frozen in time
Will the corpse be left in the rainfall to be washed of its dust?

History makes fun of its victims
And its heroes
Takes a look at them and passes by
This sea is mine -
The September air, also mine.

And my name -
Even if they spelt it wrong on the coffin -
is mine;
As for me,
Wherever I search for myself I find the others.

And when I search for them
I only find my alien-self
So am I the individual -crowd, a corpse undone?

Ah, but, you --
Spitting forth fires on the horizon,
Swinging in the void like a skeleton
In a plundered state -
Like an old amulet, in a dusty suitcase -
Dragging the strings of the horizon from your memory,
Weaving a enormous tapestry of children's broken bodies -
Tearing flesh, stopping a breath
Blasting their infant skulls, stepping on bloated small purple hands -
Is this why you tremble, dreading the mirror?
A name you hear makes you shiver -
'Tis, of your own -
And, nothing smells worse
Than the ashes of inhumanity.


Soumya Vilekar's picture

Sensitive and sad

The subject and the condition of the worse condition of humanity is as of now,which you portray rather sensitively and in a very poignant way ,as ashes of inhumanity.
Its true,rather than speaking about the dying of humanity ,its fact when we would term it as the inhumanity in a straight way. The poem is afflictive and your words piercing.

A very preciously written piece.

SSD's picture

..Tis True!

...Tis, true - your manifestation in reading the poem as 'speaking of the dying inhumanity'. I reckon, the composition is hideous as in graphic imagery, but, how could I not posit such a sigh - on the harsh, brutal realities of daily life and on the destruction that infiltrate our minds and existence, eventually creating the decline in the society and in the people? We can-not 'un-see' what we have 'seen' whether it is wars, ethnic genocide, rape, honour killings, gender inequality, etcetra -- hence, we have a certain responsibility and obligation as human-beings to truthfully, powerfully convey testimony of survival, defiance and resistance of the 'human-value' to pursue an end to inhumanity. This poem is a humble attempt - 'tis not a myth or a legend; 'tis, but, a record of inhumanity.

Thank you for your thoughts, always a delight to read your mind.

Tania K's picture

Powerful Poem!

Dear Shaheen,

In total awe! Your poem is so powerful. I can smell the "ashes of inhumanity" while reading it. How we humans have become so sterile in emotions. Your poem awakens many emotions and I really love your poetry style, its' very free verse and reminds me of a famous Arab poet called Nizar Qabani, have you read his poetry?
I've found in your writings my own voice, thankyou Shaheen!



SSD's picture


..And, yes, I have a collection of Nizar Qabbani's poetry - he had a strong feminist contribution that continues to enrich and expand minds in a very intellectual manner.

Thank you for extolling my poem - and for finding your own voice there !

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