By Ayesha Iqbal Quddusi
And old trees
Silent and somber
In the summer breeze
Sunflowers crowded with honeybees
Like a mind covered with memories
Of the usual
And other times
The blood red horizon
The sinking sun
Like a heart drowning in love
All across travels
Scent of jasmine as time entangles
That the night sky unravels
Dew drops on grass blades
As twilight fades
Tear drops for memories
Of the gone by days
And time and again
Come the same
Warm and humid
Days to blame
And the nights go by
Summer seems to never end
But the time passes by
The Heart of a Writer
By Maheen Pasha
My pen in my hand,
an empty page before me,
the fences lay exhausted,
the walls give in.
And then, in a moment,
through a slit in the door,
a memory, a long forgotten thought,
struggles to come out.
And I, instead of pushing it back,
let it take over, and become,
the force in my hands,
the ink in my pen,
the blood in my veins,
and in the narrow lanes,
of the city in my heart,
a child looks up, smiles,
and disappears into the dark alley.
And I see the sun rays,
striving to reach the old woman’s house.
None of this is grief, no.
Rather it all reflects hope.
So I return, reconstructing the walls,
because my world is not for the world to see.
The heart of a writer is not the place to be.
By Daniyal Asif
The heat - unbearable deceit
The Sun awoke, Time has come
The Moon rose with dignity
Lost travelers, deserted hearts
All of them forgotten - one by one
Everyone speaking in a different dialect
Stranger to the happiness of lost sorrow
Salient features of rhymes
The sorrow and woes, lost in times
The tears of autumn, there are none
For the time of spring has come
And so that’s the era of a new spring
Cursed, versed into a new beginning
That bleeding edge of a summer sun
The rivals of past left in desolation
The heat - severely underestimated
The sun awoke with a burning crime
Like it has never been before stuck in time
Us Poetry Competition
It was heartening to see such an overwhelming response to the call for participating in the Us Poetry Competition. We sure had a tough time shortlisting poems out of over a hundred that we received! Most of the contributions were very good and shortlisting out of those was a daunting task in itself. About thirty to thirty-five poems were shortlisted by Us and forwarded to our judges, who further selected the three best ones. It was not easy for them either!
A little intro to our judges: Both Lubna Hasan and Faisal Nazir teach literature at the Department of English, University of Karachi. Hasan herself is a creative writer and has an exceptional command over the works of John Keats – her area of research. Nazir is currently pursuing his PhD and has a profound critical understanding of Pakistani Literature produced in English. We are thankful to them for sparing time for Us Poetry Competition.
All the shortlisted poems are publishable, and will be published in the upcoming issues of the Us Magazine as a reward for all those who made an effort to participate in this competition, and actually made it a success. Honestly, I was not expecting that our inbox would be flooded with so many ‘good’ contributions. Thank you all for proving me wrong, and giving me hope that we can make this competition an annual event. Congratulations to the winners! And to all the participants: keep writing because it is you who keep Us going!