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  • Hibah Shabkhez

Fleeced With Moss: Hibah Shabkhez

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan.

Hibah says: "Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for me."


FLEECED WITH MOSS A bleak pencil garden’s grey smiling face Bled in with a stencil’s fey laughing grace Will make a home of a stray unframed place Drape it all in familiar home-spun lace Into the slate dish Thrust each quotidian wraith Forced into English These skins of slaughtered goats demand a voice For this shadow of their souls beg a choice But they shall natheless be dragged in, squealing From blows of my pencil ashen, reeling Betrayed heirlooms, fade In this bleak English corset Pose as rich warm jade

REVELATION Anon we perched upon the roof-top pump's pipe I lagging last, cringing from the sun's knife, Leeching shadows from the whispering trees Wilting the queens of the night to snow grease I am the first-croaked call of the ravens Who swore never to return to their glens Thine errand unfulfilled; but I, I made Another promise to the fleeing shade In darkness wore they contours of eagles; Darkling eyes, wings of kites, curved falcon beaks Brooding silhouettes from high mountain peaks They speak, erupted shadows, glump soot-freaks; And I echo through the defrosting skulls Of mountain peaks the sun to roof-tops dulls

VEILED STAR OF DESTINY He strides over land like a colossus As Prosper glides into the sea Could he see which way to go O my daughter, If you did not twinkle so? She scurries over land, a singed Narcissus Cringing from water she dare not see O paper-vessel of my hopes and dreams Sail forth, take my gaudy ink screams Draped in a lavish lie Writ on a blacklist: My name that cannot die For it never lived, until the day This flat gold ring cracked me to clay

WITH THE RISING SUN WE FLY The petrichor rising upon the playful breeze Unsteadies the new doctor’s taut-veined hand, Scattering us beyond the shadows of trees A blaze of colour in a starved starched land Upon us the wandering eyes snap into focus Over red, black, purple the wasted hands hover; Then fasten upon one, the warmest green ‘Bunties!’ her glee-made-sound is hocus-pocus To the fluttering, scuttling, pebble-struck plover Darting about her in glossy cotton sateen Dancing widdershins, she smears her lips strong Green as a pea, hums: ‘Bright as silver, good as gold Everyone can see’ And we, dead colour made quick See, in the fretful quavering of the old school-song A bunty-wrapper snapped on like a ball-mask of old Ladybird races, dandelions, a finger-snuffed wick A laugh is liberated by a memory of an illusion The bliss of chocolate melts into the tongue As the frail shell cracks, crumbles, unstrung By an old taunt barging into the glad profusion.

YELLOW JACKETS Look! Ink and Life mesh, blur, forge silken slats High-lit jackets from our Halloween hats. My ink-world is burning, slowly turning To familiar ash; blossoming tangerine Over blazing tin crates, metal churning Soggy silver butter to burst on screen. This smoke I know well; In our real-world gardens, we Grow this sand of hell.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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