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Land of my Childhood, Musafar
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, July 6 2012 (

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Land of my Childhood


Publishing Date: Friday, July 6 2012

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you,
Your children so fair, maids as pretty as flowers,
Handsome, stalwart sons brandishing guns as adornment,
With gazes averted from our mothers and sisters,
And your men courteous and true to their word,
Your cities were the praise and envy of people from lands afar,
Yea, they were called the Cities of Flowers,
O where, o where, have you gone,
Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.

The kehwa-khanas of Qissa-Khwani in Kabalae Darwaza,
The seekh kababs of Sabiri astride the ganda nallah,
The aroma of tikkae mingling with the dust and smoke,
Roganae, kulchae, amrasae and zalobae to make you drool,
Ucha mewa, sheer chai, and the chugha besides a winter log fire,
The sitar to draw a chord and mangae with accompanying beat,
O where, o where have you gone,

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.
The citadel of Bala Hissar of my distant memory,
With crumbling walls yet majestic and intimidating,
The Chauk Yadgar, a confluence spot of yore for the mazdur,
The Ghanta Ghar clad in its brick elegance striking the hour,
The glory of Sethi Mohalla, a pearl set in an oyster,
The masjids of Qasim Ali Khan and Mahabat Khan,
The Samdo ki Gali of Kohati Darwaza,
O where, o where have you gone,

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.
The plaintive cry of the mashki filling mangee door to door,
Sprinkling the parched earth on a hot torrid afternoon,
The rich age of craftsmen priding themselves in their wares,
A rich time when there was respect between the old and young,
A rich time when one's word was an irrevocable bond,
The reverence and awe of the passing Moharram procession,
The human sound of the azaan floating over the air waves,
The clip clop of a horse drawn tonga a melodious beat,
O where, o where have you gone,

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.
But nay, tarry a while and ponder,
How could you go away, it was I who abandoned you.
Why didn't you beckon me to stay and grow in your shade,
Why didn't you enfold me to your bosom from distant places,
Why didn't you reach out to me then, as I reach out to you now,
Why didn't you plead with me, not to forsake you to the wolves,
O why, o why did I go and forsake you my beloved.

Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.
I berate myself for returning so late in the day,
But I perceive a silver lining in the resilience of your being,
May the Almighty cleanse your soul and restore your dignity,
I shall cherish the day when, by His will, you shall rise from the ashes like the Pheonix.
Land of my childhood, how I yearn for you.

Poetry by Lt Col Liaquat Shah (Retd) who has adopted 'Musafar' as his pen name

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Land of my Childhood, Musafar
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, July 6 2012 (