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Rizwan Akhtar


Ghazal: Flight


Nowhere have you seemed to land, such is the length of flight

Ghazals found a new plight, choosing silence, reviving the flight


Your absence perked couplets too smug to evoke destruction

Not a day passed memory was a bite, Oh! the pain before a flight


Beloved! Vigilance is useless, you are too predictable now

Now the very sight of you banking eyes means heart’s flight


I have heard the music pouring from strings inside dark harams

women tucked in beds write verse, keep their imagination’s flight


I tied many ideas around your braid you swung on bright days

with winter each drizzled pensively, charmed by your hairs’ flight


dipped in cinnamon the pale green sticks brewed aromatic tears

Love made my steamy eyes searching quite in a sensual flight


dead bodies smoked under debris was the last unbearable sight

afterwards ghazals revolved meters, a new muse just took flight


When I took you the The Royal Mosque you trembled with hope

hands clasped tight we joined for a congregation, the souls’ flight


Downright immersed in rekhta the ghazals have paid me boon

The poet settles for a hybrid flourish, surely a privileged fight!


Ghazal: Wind


No tree remained stable after being caught in wind

Some leaves are just couplets falling aimless in wind


How many days passed since you did not bother to braid

Can ghazals survive with you and your hairs flying in wind?


How Aelous extracted stories from Ulysses in exchange

fated to live an exile he exulted as the keeper of wind


Pavana holds a beauty over elements running a chariot

What the deity does not know that it unleashes wind


The Irish bard, spectacled and tuft-forehead waited long

Maud  & Iseult Gonne did not yield to  ‘monstrous’ wind.


Bemused! we cannot plumb the enigma behind creation

Ghalib asks from where come clouds and this very wind


The smoke covers the skyline of Lahore above the dust

Every structure is choked by bridges blocking the wind.


Last time I held you in arms and you gave me dewy eyes

Now  ghazals wipe the memory drowned by a nasty wind



When the anklets resounded the fire colored marbled floor

I searched for the origin of the flame conspired by wind


Inside The Royal Mosque you ran for solitude in a corner

There in the middle of ablution pigeons fluttered wind


The evening is too heavy, and at night your face reappears

The poet shudders into memory by ghazals carrying wind.


Ghazal: Hush

Under an autumn tree leaves piled crinkling a hush
Even summer’s lush memory withered wanting a hush.

Splintered, a thin curtain wavers on the creviced door
The wind hurls a mighty gush, and then the usual hush

Without much effort I made you a subject of my ghazal
Cheeks connoting blush, fingers on lips, you said “ hush”

The red mulberries burst on the palate like juicy words
The lateral flush suggesting silence a synonym of hush

The princess tiptoed on the plush grass flailing her arms
her anklets echoed, clutching bangles, in-between a hush

Remember that brush of elbows inside The Royal Mosque
arms and hands mingled, our souls found the missing hush

Somewhere you wait for me to read the ghazals afresh
The desire for maqta, the rush for closure, ends on a hush.

About Rizwan Akhtar

Rizwan Akhtar’s debut collection of poems Lahore, I Am Coming (2017)is published by Punjab Univeristy Press. He works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his PhD in postcolonial literature from the University of Essex, UK in 2013. He has published poems in well-established poetry magazines of the UK, US, India, Canada, and New Zealand. He has also done a workshop on poetry with Derek Walcott at the University of Essex in 2010”.  Lahore, I Am Coming (2017) is the first Collection of poems of Rizwan Akhtar published by Punjab University Press, Lahore. Available online: