Monday 2 December 2013

At the Time of Partition by Moniza Alvi (Bloodaxe, 2013)

Some favourite passages:

Like a conquered king,
the story limps away.

Pity the ending.
No story has an ending.

Attend the burial--
there will be a resurrection.


One day--that sliver of time

in which anything can happen
and often doesn't,

but sometimes time take one day
by the hand, or the scruff of the neck.

That day when any story
takes a deep breath

                                and begins--


In an exodus, such a child
grown up and not grown up

was ripe for being lost.


A line so delicate a sparrow might have
picked it up in its beak.

from "The Line"

Under duress, 
it [the house] was dauntingly calm.

from "Ever After"

Where will you live?
Have you any arrangements?

An arrangement?
It lay breathing at the end of the tunnel.

Hopped towards her like a tamed bird.

Like a kite, it tangled in the trees. 


At this point the back
of the story
                    begins to break.

Can it walk at all?
Or hobble with a stick?

Will it close its eyes and drift into sleep?

How to serve it well?

from "So They Took the Bus"

How did she come to be here
in a place so in love with no?

from "No"

The nothingness was palpable--
you could pluck it from the air.

from "The Camp"

A nation in its instability,

one that could change lives
with the suddenness of a blow to the head.

from "And Where?"

What was there to cling to
but hope?

The fine escarpment of hope.

from "Continuing"

At the time of posting, Moniza Alvi's At the Time of Partition is available for 27% off from Foyle's

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