Hasan the Cup Maker

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Noon Meem Rashid Poetry

( 1 Vote )

Hasan the Cup Maker

(as in a clay wine-cup maker)

O Born of Time, down in the street, in front of your door
this is I, the Love-scald Hasan, the cup maker!
I saw you this morning
at the old perfumist Yusuf's shop,
and your eyes had the radiance
in search of which I was lost for nine long years
O Born of Time, for nine years I wandered in this madness!
Those were the days when
I didn't look back at my gloomy wine-cups----
Those wine-cups, figurines shaped by my artful hands,
lifeless creatures of clay, paint and polish.
They spoke to each other in whispers
"Where is Hasan the cup maker now?
From us, from his own doing,
as if a god acting like a god, he's obliviously wandering!"
O Born of Time, those nine years passed over me
as time passes over a buried city!
The clay in the clay pits,
with the aroma of which I was once inspired
lay there solidified.
The decanters, goblets, chalices, candlesticks, flower vases,
the means of sustenance of my simple economy, expressions of my art
lay in shards.
I too, I, Hasan the cup maker, my feet in mud, head covered in dust, naked
on my potter's wheel, my hair in a mess, head hung between my knees,
like an unhappy god, with the clay and mud
of my imaginations, was busy shaping the ethereal wine-cups of my dreams.

O Born of Time, nine years ago
you were innocently childish, but you knew
that I, Hasan the cup maker,
had seen in your enchantingly radiant eyes,
the sparkle that
had made my being a pathway of the exuberance
of the full moon, the pleasant spring-cloud.

O Born of Time, that dreamy night in Baghdad,
the bank of river Tigris,
the rowboat, the drowsy eyes of the oarsman.
For some feeble spirited, dejected cup maker
just one night was so charged,
that with it still clings his being ---
his soul, his body
But one night's adventure was the surging wave
having drowned in which Hasan the cup maker has not surfaced again!

O Born of Time, in those days, everyday
that unfortunate woman would come
and see me at my wheel, my feet in mud, head in my knees.
She would shake me by my shoulders ---
(at the same wheel that for years was my sole means of sustenance!)
She would shake me by my shoulders:
"O Hasan, cup maker, come to your senses
Hasan look at your desolate home
How will the furnaces of your children be fuelled?
Hasan, O Love-smitten
Love is a game for the rich!
Hasan, take a look at your walls and doors"

In my ears this fateful voice resounded as if
someone calls a drowning man from the depths of a maelstrom!
Those streams of tears were heaps of flowers, but
I, Hasan the cup maker, was the dweller
of the ruins of a city of apprehensions,
in which no sound, no movement,
no shadow of a flying bird,
no trace of any life could be found!

O Born of Time, tonight, down in your street,
in the icy darkness of the night,
I stand in front of your door
my hair in a mess
From the window above those enchanting eyes
gaze upon me again tonight.
Time, O Born of Time, is a potter's wheel on which like decanters,
goblets, wine-cups, candlesticks and vases,
men are made and unmade.
I am a human, but
the nine years that I passed in the incarceration of suffering!!!
Hasan the cup maker is a mound of dust today which
is devoid of all traces of dampness.
O Born of Time, in the morning, at the pefumist Yusuf's
shop your eyes
have conveyed something again.
With the sparkling radiance of those eyes
has quivered in this dust-mound a soft throb of moisture.
This, perhaps, will turn the dust into pliant clay!

Who knows the infiniteness of desire, O Born of Time, but
if you wish, I can be once again,
the same cup maker whose goblets
were the pride of every tavern of every city and town
Which lit up the abodes of the rich and poor.
Who knows the infiniteness of desire, O Born of Time, but
if you wish, I can turn once again to my long forsaken wine-cups
to the dry pits of clay and dust
to the means of sustenance, means of expression of my art.
That from this very clay, from this paint and polish
I shall conjure up the sparks with which
the ruins of hearts could be enlightened!



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