The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems

By Agha Shahid Ali

Agha Shahid Ali died in 2001, mourned by means of myriad fanatics of poetry and committed scholars. This quantity, his shining legacy, strikes from playful early poems to subject matters of mourning and loss, culminating within the ghazals of Call Me Ishmael Tonight. The name poem seems to be in print for the 1st time.

from “The Veiled Suite”

I look forward to him to seem instantly into my eyesThis is our basically probability for magnificence.If he, rigorously, upon this hour of ice,will allow us to virtually thoroughly crystallize,tell me, who yet i may relax his dreaming night.Where he turns, what's going to now not seem yet my eyes?Wherever he appears to be like, the sky is barely eyes.Whatever information he has, it's of the sea.

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There's no sunlight the following. Then be pitiless you whom i couldn't retailer— ship your cries to me, if merely during this means: I’ve stumbled on a prisoner’s letters to a lover— One starts: “These phrases might by no means achieve you. ” one other ends: “The epidermis dissolves in dew with no your contact. ” and that i are looking to resolution: i need to reside perpetually. What else am i able to say? It rains as I write this. Mad center, be courageous. (for James Merrill) The Floating submit place of work The put up boat used to be like a gondola that known as at every one houseboat. It carried a clerk, weighing scales, and a bell to announce arrivals. Has he been stored from us? Portents of rain, rumors, ambushed letters . . . Curtained palanquin, fetch our observe, deliver us notice: Who has died? Who’ll dwell? Has the order long gone out to shut the waterways . . . the only open highway? after which we observed the boat being rowed in the course of the fog of dying, the sentence handed on our urban. It got here shut to bare smudged black-ink letters which the postman—he used to be ,alive— gave us, like indicators, with out a notice, and we took them, with out a be aware. From our deck we’d obvious the hill highway bringing a jade rain, near-olive, down from the temple, a few penitent’s cymbaled prayer? He took our letters, and held them, like a lover, shut to his center. And the rain drew shut. used to be there, we requested, a brand new password— blood, blood shaken into letters, merciless primitive script that may erode our saffron hyperlink to the prior? stressful with autumn, the leaves, soaking wet olive, fell on graveyards, crying “O stay! ” What destiny might the rain reveal? O Rain, abandon all pretense, now drown the area, provide us your be aware, ring, candy murderer of the line, the temple bell! For if letters come, i'll solution these letters and my 12 months can be demanding, alive with love! The temple gets the line: there, the rain has come to a detailed. the following the waters upward push; our each one note within the fog awaits a sentence: His hand at the scales, he provides his note: Our letters should be rowed via olive canals, stressful waters not anyone can shut. The Correspondent I say “There’s no as far back as your country,” I inform him he must not ever go away. He cites the realm: his time table. I manage barricades: the mountain routes are damp; there, useless dervishes damascene the darkish. “I needs to depart now,” his voice ablaze. I take off—it’s my final resort—my shadow. And he walks—there’s no electrical energy— again into my darkish, murmurs Kashmir! ,, lighting (to a soundtrack of exploding grenades) a dim kerosene lamp. “We needs to supply again the hour its sheen, or this spell won't ever finish. . . . Quick,” he says, “I’ve simply come—with videos—from Sarajevo. ” His photos is useful with sympathy, close-ups in sluggish movement: from bombed websites to the dissolve of mosques in colonnades. Then, wheelchairs on a ramp, burning. He fast-forwards: the scene: the sunlight: a guy in formal put on: he performs at the sidewalk his unaccompanied cello, the hour tuned, dusk-slowed, to Albinoni, simply the Adagio ,as funeral rites earlier than the celebrities dazzle, polished to blades above a barbed-wire camp.

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