Mushtaque B Barq

Paint your canvas before the colours lose gloss

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 Let ye thy flock guide

and train  cross the river

before the cunning fox shall

take care of the rest.

Pity! A flock wrapped in silken tassel is grazing under the romantic rush of golden grass. Grazing for a cause. A handsome fox behind the silverbush whistles and sings to lure the flock. Its words and whirls syncronises with the flute of a shepherd sitting under the Chinar tree on the bank of a river, letting his flock to wander like a gush of a genteel wish. Wish lists are as wide as The Blue, reaching far off recesses of cosmos. At times couches us in the coziest lap of ecstasy yet occasionally vanishes like a column of smoke during its course.

 Better stay in limitations

than crafting a boat out of a tattered newspaper

carrying a picture of a dead man

boxed in to meet the needs of the editor.

 Wishes are like three-legged destitute horse of fairyland, like better to stay in the comfy of the stable maintained by three-eyed donkeys and nursed by a monkey without a tail. Tails at times give a hard-hitting time when movement entails enthusiasm. These mysterious creatures put in order what all is accessible in fairyland in the spacious kitchen on the bridge of a river through which flows saccharine water.  Sugar is available in abundance. Even wounds are treated with sugarcoated words not to talk of serving a guest from the sand town. This three-legged horse is carried by four handicapped mules, making it a breathtaking mishmash of inadequacy and inaccuracy.

Handicap is the one who stays

back in the den

with hands ten

crushing the bread.

When the flock receives the chariot, the lamb ­­__ a pure-hearted creature offers his neck; the rest of the flock follows the suit. But before the poor lamb surrenders, its list is compromised. The blank sheet of its desires is further modified to suit the mood of the three-legged horse just carried to the valley of wolves. These wolves sensing the mood alter the tune of their whistles to stand for the power. The shriek of their whistles wakes up the unconscious shepherd from his slumber and he rushes to the spot where all his flock had already submitted, leaving this lazy shepherd high and dry.

Keeping a pulsing spirit

is not enough in the chest,

keep it alive

for care, love and fellow feeling

is the feed, it grows on.

 The forlorn shepherd adjusts himself in the fallen angel’s broken wing. What a grace! A loser in the costume of a fallen seraph looks more elegant. His fissured palms ravish green grass of highland and marry his unimaginable abyss with the straw of lowland.  A creature of misfortune turns to be the resultant of this hasty matrimony where the attributes of nasty hypocrisy display its future on the very face of a loyal shepherd who after getting ditched by his own flock sticks to his newly found love. The three-legged horse in the attire of a vampire asks for the life serum of the virgin variety to restrict the progeny of ‘would be’ generation of genetically modified monsters.

Enjoy the lush green carpet

but, never ignore the leaf fall 

a leaf that lives on the highest limb

reaches to dust:

change is the law of nature.

With the advent of autumn, the sweet water of the river changes its course, forcing the valley to welcome a brook carrying human blood. Living and pulsating human organs. Half naked dead bodies of wounded warriors. Tufts of tress of damsels and that of children carrying amulets around their necks after their mothers seek spiritual healers to make one for their beloveds. The lazy shepherd who had already lost his chattels only wails like a widow at the window to narrate her tale of woes to one and all. And the three-legged horse for its own good keeps luring the poor lamb to give up for security.

On the bank of a river, count not the fish

but thy own pulse

that you waste in pursuits weak.

Before someone asks for a hand

learn how to swim

and save a needy one.

Pain is paradoxical in nature and texture. The loser suffers on one hand and yet creates a space to adjust likeminded. If at all someone is exposed, it is none other than a shepherd who once had a flock to rely on, but his poor judgment and weak eyesight proved against his own needs. One who lets his strength to be carried on the wings of daydreaming, he always lands in trouble.

Fall never before the season,

stay firm on the branch

unnatural fall leads to  early death

and the dead man has no desire

to rise.



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