Poems and Tales

Mother Writes to Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (born Prince Louis of Battenberg), Last Viceroy of India, Cuckolded by Nehru,  Assassinated by the IRA.

27 August 2019

Dear Lord Louis,

Last night I dreamt we were flying
on an Oriental rug above graveyards

of the Kashmir valley
your hand clasped securely in mine.

We chased our own shadows
over the barbed wire architecture

of the Line of Control
into Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“My sixth child was born here just
years after the Partition,” I said,

but the wind dispersed my words
as we swirled above shiny rivers.

“The Punjab!” you said. “Land
of five rivers dressed in wheat.

Here, feudal landlords pressed
Jinnah to demand Partition.”                 

You steered us through
battalions of monsoon clouds

to the land’s edge —— Karachi.
“We created Pakistan,” you said,

smirking, “in order to prevent the
Soviets from using this warm port.”

I was ruffled. “You’re lost in the past.”
I said, “The past rots the future.”

We soared again above Turkey
“WWI waging down there still,”

you said, laughing. My hair
was tangled. We created waves

in the air. I still had eyes
in my head, a voice in my throat.

I was a tunnel through which light
cascaded into darkness to the edge

of Europe. We slipped below the
clouds, hovering above an Island.

I couldn’t remember the last time
I had seen so many shades of green.

I was dumb with happiness.

A postcard-size castle rose up
to greet us. “I’ve a leaping impulse,”

you said, unclasped your hand
from mine —a royal crane swooped

down to a boat wreck. Savage waves
broke their bones against jagged rocks.

A splash at the castle’s edge.
A lull. Then, the Lion of Kashmir

alit on a rock roared “Azaadi”
at the foam through which you entered

into the sea. My heart pounded.
I screamed, “Pani Pani” rousing

my caregiver, dozing
on an Ethan Allen black leather recliner

next to my bed at Hebrew Home
The Bronx. Yours hopelesslyMaryam Jan.

Pani Pani: Water Water


By Rafiq Kathwari, Mother Born —Kashmir 5 March 1924, Died —The Bronx 31 March 2020