Poems of Rapture and Devotion
M Sridhar
EVENING WITH A SUFI: SELECTED POEMS by Afsar Mohammad. Red River, New Delhi, 2022, 99 pp., 349.00
January 2023, volume 47, No 1

What struck me most in the Evening with a Sufi: Selected Poems by Afsar Mohammad translated by him with Shamala Gallagher are vivid, sometimes startling images such as of ‘a body like a wound peeks from your torn shirt’ or of wounds that ‘open their huge doors’ in a poem like ‘Name Calling’. Or consider the lines in ‘A Piece of Bread’ written in memory of Bismillah Khan:

When you left,

the shehnai turned alone

into her dark corner

and sang to herself,

beating and beating

the ceaseless tune

of the dream you left


and the image of Fatima [who] ‘began to broom the hurt field/with her braid’.

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