On 26th January, I went to the Republic Day poetic meet of the AMU University. There I heard Prof. Munib-ur-Rehman, who for the last 30 odd years lives in Michigan, USA, recite his poem, "Tanhaee"-'Loneliness'-it moved me to tears...

Old Man in Sorrow

He stood there, tall and impressive, as ever,
Only when he got up with the help of his blind-man’s-stick,
You noticed, he could hardly see, the hearing aids told another story,
The shock of grey on the broad forehead, the hair line receding just as it did,
The same kind expression of his eyes- that crinkled at the corners as he smiled,
The same deep throated mesmerizing voice, the same engaging way, as he began to recite;
But, his poem, ‘Tanhaee’, brought tears to my eyes; the plight of an old man was its surmise:
Alone and lonely in the far off land, in the cold climes of Michigan he stands

At the window of his Condominium and muses, about his dear motherland:
Why did I leave my home and came so far, away from the sunrise and nightfall’s
To this cold land where sun hardly rises, where nights are long and starless and forlorn;
The jungle of concrete, reminds of the green forests of home; where birds chirruped to herald in the dawn,
Where peacock danced with first shower of rain; where flower bloomed whole year long…
Where friends gathered around the fire every day; recited poetry in mallow way;
When he stood on the stage and acted in plays; kept the audience spell-bound in his sway;
Where warmth exuded from every heart, where Ghalib and Mir where order of the day;
When night came he gazed at the stars, and wrote poems to his sweetheart…
Now she is gone, and in her grave laid, his children are scattered all over the place;
They do come sometimes; they love him too, but have to go back to their families too;
Now nights are starless, lonely and blue, he lies awake in bed, thinking of youth…
He can’t read a book, the sight failed him too, and listening to music is an effort too;
Dependent on other for his daily chores, he suffers and waits for his turn too…

Do I see my tomorrow in those soulful eyes?


Author: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh (UP), India
Copyright © Zoya Zaidi
26th Jan 2010

Dedicated to Munib-ur-Rehman Sahib after hearing his poem ‘Tanhaee’-Loneliness

Image: Old Man in Sorrow by Vincent Van Gogh

Poetry by Zoya Zaidi
Read 876 times
Written on 2010-01-29 at 09:29

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Dan Cederholm

Hey Zoya this one is out of reach*

it touch me so much girl!!!


Stan Cooper The PoetBay support member heart!
Hi Zoya...
You've gone and done it again...It's a beatiful poem...
And, of course, I love the Van Gogh...


Amar Gurung
hi zoya, its always a pleasure to read your brilliant writing, you've depicted the sorrow of the old age vividly...only the lucky ones get sorrounded by family always...**LOVED IT**

Phyllis J. Rhodes
There is a sweetness to this that conveys your tender feelings for the poet and his plight.

Your poem makes the life of this man, unknown to us, personal. A sad story, but it is your sensitive writing that conveys that sense of sadness.

No, I don't his life foretells your own.

Amy Valentina
Hi Zoya,
Your composition is very heart touching and nostalgic. Our sweetest songs are those that tell of the saddest. And you sure did justice to such a wonderful recital.
Well done and all the best.