Paradise on Fire

If flowers, clouds,

and mountain springs are words,

then Kashmir is the poetry,

written by nature on earth

Over the mountain across the jhelum our bus,

taking twists and turns, at

every few meters distance,nationalist slogans appear-

uniformed men stare into my eye, to see

if i’m one who agrees with them, or not.

Yellow and red boat shimmering light,

as moonbeams dance on Dal Lake-

they coerce my contemplative thoughts, and

inspire me to write-

The arms of temple & mosque embrace, in

watery-light reflections

people come and go, singing songs

in cars and buses, but who can be

more unfortunate than one

unaware of his brother’s plight?

Welcome our friend from India!

This greeting from them comes

as a surprise- I’m curious, what makes them

hate my nation how Rebellious spirits arise

They say, we fight a long time for

peace in our land

against oppression and suppression

with nothing but stone in our hand

I doubt

religious extremism

will help in their struggle

and by supporting other,

if they are adding

more struggle to their struggle

with curfew and harsh law-

India here is different from mine.

That is what i saw-

Barracks, a killing device

police siren and gun

how this oxymoron is Kashmir paradise

June 4 2012  @Srinagar