rise and chisel the mountains
mountains of dead traditions
mountains of blind beliefs
mountains of cruel hatreds.
In the prisons of our bodies
countless restless bodies
and grieving souls sob
they wander ’round from stairway to stairway
asking when we shall free them.
Our existence is for the future generations
we owe them,
those who will come into being
through us come into existence.
The severed head which gives birth to thousands of heads
is no longer just a story.
That which throbs in the blood,
thousands of eyes from the veins of the body,
peering restless eyes
are saying this:
These, who sleep in a house,
of yellow stone
wrapped in sheets of insensitivity
and chisel the mountains.
We have to think of liberation.
by Rukhsana Ahmad
from We Sinful Women: Contemporary Urdu Poetry
The Women's Press, London, 1991