The place is full of worshippers.
You can tell by the sandals
piled outside, the owners’ prints
worn into leather, rubber, plastic,
a picture clearer than their faces
put together, with some originality,
brows and eyes, the slant
of cheek to chin.
What prayer are they whispering?
Each one has left a mark,
the perfect pattern of a need,
sole and heel and toe
in dark, curved patches,
heels worn down,
thongs ragged, mended many times…
This poem is called ‘Prayer’, written by Imtiaz Dharker. There are many other masterpieces of hers like ‘Purdah and other poems’ (1988), ‘Postcards from god’ (1997), ‘I speak for the devil’ (2001), ‘The Terrorist at my table’ (2006) and many others.
The artist, poetess, documentary filmmaker, and award-winning Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 2014 – Imtiaz Dharker recently turned down the most honourable post for the poetic world; the Laureateship! Solely, for upbringing the poems she wrote. In her words, she believes that her writing is what matters and the Laureateship is no doubt an honour, she made way for her contenders.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan and Conservative Muslim family, Imtiaz moved to Glasgow at the age of one and got her education there. She has been married two times, first to Anil Dharker; a journalist and writer who now runs the International Literary festivals in Mumbai and then married to Simon Powell who is the founder of Poetry Live and passed away in 2009 after eleven-years of a fight with Cancer. She has a daughter named Aysha Dharker, also a known Shakespeare actress.
That was little sneak peek of her biography, what is the thing that got SalamPlanet’s attention the most? Well, that’s how beautifully she merged the religion, wisdom, art and social issues in a subtle, understandable and simple way! We love how much she is dedicated to the efforts she put into her work and has made in the word by her continuous passion for poetry and art.
I am a Scottish Muslim Calvinist, adopted by India and married into Wales – this is one of the famous lines said by the Poetess while explaining her origin and connectivity to land. There is a wisdom, a message, a lesson and pathway hidden in the pieces of Imtiaz’s work that we need to look up to and find!
In the words of her contender, Carol Ann Duffy said: ‘Whether Imtiaz Dharker writes of exile, childhood, politics or grief, her clear-eyed attention brings each subject dazzlingly into focus,” she had said. “She makes it look easy, this clarity and economy, but it is her deft phrasing, wit and grace that create this immediacy.’
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