Light and Heavy Things provides many English-speaking readers an opportunity to discover the work of the late Pakistani poet Zeeshan Sahil for the first time. Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, in 1961, Sahil went on to publish eight collections of poetry in Urdu. Often described as a shy man, Sahil was confined to a wheelchair and suffered from serious health problems his entire life leading to his premature death at the age of 47. Despite the difficulties he faced, Zeeshan Sahil’s poetry is marked by an often lighthearted sensitivity and a post-modern sensibility that presents the political realities of Pakistan in personal terms.
Be afraid of poets
They have hand grenade dreams
Let your words slip
And they’ll throw them against the wall
Try to snatch them back
And they’ll hide them under water
Whatever they have
They won’t give you
If a mob confronts them
Even then the sky is theirs
They will call up a cavalry of clouds
And they will drown you
They own the earth and keep your footprints captive
They have a boat
And they’ll ship you off
To an island and leave you there
If you live with birds you will forget
Faces of poets, your own face
When they come for you
You might push the birds in front of you
To take your place.
Zeeshan Sahil was born on December 15, 1961, in Hyderabad, Sindh, and went to school there. He began to write poetry in 1977. He is one of the primary poets who started writing prose poetry in Pakistan. During his lifetime he published eight collections of poetry in Urdu: Arena (1985), Chirion ka Shor (1989), Kuhr Alood Aasmaan kay Sitaaray (1994), Karachi aur Doosri Nazmein (1995), Email aur Doosri Nazmein (2003), Shabnama aur Doosri Nazmein (2003), Jang ke Dinon Mein (2003) and Neem-tareek Muhabbat (2005). All eight books have been published in a single volume, titled Saari Nazmain, and his ghazals were collected in another volume, Wajh-e Begangi, in 2011. One more volume of his work, containing all his uncollected and still unpublished poems is being compiled. He died on April 12, 2008, in Karachi.
© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2013