The Modality of Paradise

What if

Darnielle was right,

but he confused Kashmir

for Jerusalem; where is

the leper-king; the warrior-

scholar, Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn? Where are

your weapons, you creatures

of dirt—of earth, and human bone?

You need more than words

and sticks and stone—

we were told you were warlike

and ravaged by faith

and completely alone

but there are children rising from their sleep,

taking to the streets,

armed with blood and skin

and nothing. What paradise

is this? Where will Leetul de Châtillon

rest his boots and badges;

what will he do when he can’t sleep?

Will you remind him? Will you

tell him that your fists

and little pieces of your land

are worth more than catapults

and pellet guns? What if

Darnielle was right,

but he confused Kashmir

for Jerusalem; where are

your battle-cries for better days;

are you forsaken? You have hearts

bigger than the Karakoram peaks,

do not forget to whom I speak—

you have survived, and

you will feast. You

will feast. You will

feast. What if

Darnielle was right,

but he confused Kashmir

for Jerusalem; do decades

define your soul; can you be

without your history; would

the Prophet have your strength?

You will outlast wind-up clocks

and wound up men and

you will teach our species

what it means

to live

on the day you are

free to dance

again. What if

Darnielle was right,

but he confused Kashmir

for Jerusalem?

 

Words contributed by Valmik Kumar

Edits: Charulatha Dasappa

Valmik has learnt that the best way to reject labels is to stick as many of them as he can onto various parts of his body until, as a whole, they are incomprehensible; but in small doses and under specific gazes, he might have what you’re looking for. He also like words and noises and colours and stuff.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *