Partition Poems

In Kashmir: Writing Under Occupation

 by Ather Zia


August in Kashmir 


Photo Credit: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images

is a siege on steroids
India wrapped in saffron
Pakistan awash in green
Kashmir as always
soaks in blood
red of its old and young
those being born
and those not yet

the partition 
has become a stone in hand
answering bullets
that kill and blind
every day –
in Kashmir
mothers live to wait
for the disappeared
fathers survive 
only to bury the killed
all epitaphs read

Azadi                Azadi                 Azadi

the blood-soaked rags
drying in Dilli and Lahore
are fresh in Lal Chowk


the slaughterhouse is open –


Photo Credit: Faisal Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Kashmiri bodies hung
on hooks blinded eyes,                         
tender tongued radical
meat branded Azadi
is the venison of nations


i returned home to broken gutters

spilling onto doorsteps, 
bullet-casings, old bones

she had kept the roses
from the garden gutted by grenades,
winter had razed the rest

she never bid him goodbye,
her eyes red from the teargas,
in Kashmir
lovers are suspected of seeking Azadi



Ather Zia is a poet and a political anthropologist who teaches Anthropology and Gender Studies at University of Northern Colorado Greeley. She is the founder editor of Kashmir Lit