Imtiaz Dharker’s Blessing: “Voice Of A Kindly God”

The voice of Imtiaz Dharker, lyrical, precise and earthy, came to me between sleep and waking. That’s the liminal state in which I listen to the BBC at three in the morning. The poet was being interviewd on a BBC program called Heart and Soul. Dharker describes herself as a “cultural mongrel” – “a Scottish Muslim Calvinist, brought up in a Lahori household in Glasgow.” Now she lives in London and Mumbai. In the interview she says that religion is “a misuse of the name of God” and poetry is a moment “when everything else falls away” [listen now]. Dharker recites poems from her latest book, Leaving Fingerprints (including “Spire”  and “Honor Killing”) as well as “Blessing” (which has been required  reading in U.K. schools for over a decade ):

Blessing by Imtiaz Dharker

The skin cracks like a pod.
There never is enough water.

Imagine the drip of it,
the small splash, echo
in a tin mug,
the voice of a kindly god.

Sometimes, the sudden rush
of fortune. The municipal pipe bursts,
silver crashes to the ground
and the flow has found
a roar of tongues. From the huts,
a congregation : every man woman
child for streets around
butts in, with pots,
brass, copper, aluminium,
plastic buckets,
frantic hands,

and naked children
screaming in the liquid sun,
their highlights polished to perfection,
flashing light,
as the blessing sings
over their small bones.

Imtiaz Dharker recites ‘Blessing’ and ‘They’ll say, “She must be from another country”‘:

See the text of ‘They’ll say, “She must be from another country”‘ and several other poems at Poetry International. Here is one reader’s mashup of Blessing:

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3 Responses to Imtiaz Dharker’s Blessing: “Voice Of A Kindly God”

  1. Ms Modigliani says:

    In conversation with Arundhathi Subramaniam, Imtiaz Dharker reflects on the writing of poetry. Here’s a smell and a taste:

    For the process of stripping away superfluity has been not merely cultural and political, but psychological and emotional as well. “It’s been about cutting away unfruitful frustration and anger. Of course, the anger never quite disappears, particularly when you see what’s happening around you in this country, the way people are being pushed around by religion and politics. But meanwhile there is also the smell of coffee and the taste of olives…”

  2. Pingback: Imtiaz Dharker: A Spire Starts with Mud - a blind flaneur

  3. Pingback: Attention Economy - September 9, 2023 | a blind flaneur

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