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The Land Knows by Muniba Mahmud

They say the earth carries memories
And branches sway news to the clouds 
Swirls of wind rise, like souls to the sky
And watchful birds, the air surround – 
They fly across skies, bearing THE news
But humans don’t pay heed: they stubbornly refuse 
For elsewhere the world is consumed with excess
Amidst comfort and ease, misery is easy to forget 

They say, the sun still shines on a rainy day 
But I can see no rainbow in sight: 
Perhaps the storm appears before a calm
And the earth bears witness to this plight: 

Howling winds of a raging tornado,
Cursed, agonizing 
Cries of hurt rage
Sweeping through lives
Nothing spares in its wake: 
Hospital floors run out of space 
Unanaesthised, amputates
A branch, a tree, the mantle of the earth:
Tremors through the land
In the dark, black night 

For some it never merely rains
Heavy, it does forever pour 
A harrowing, hollowing cry 
Through the land does bore: 

From the eye of the tornado  
Misery is broadcast to the world: 
Travel far, their bloodied cries
Their suffering pierces my soul.
Yet the storm surrounds a calm:
Despite their pain 
Last goodbyes to the soul of their souls
Many other goodbyes remain stories untold;
The moon glares in white-cold temper  
And glowering sun, in anger seethes
Birds and beasts begin to fear the heat,
And trees tremble 
For what they perceive;

And still, those who now walk through fire 
Will emerge unburnt from this blight 
As the heat has once before deferred 
To another bearer of Light 

In the eye of the storm,
The vision finds clarity:
The sun shines on a rainy day 
And though I don’t see a rainbow – 
They know – and I begin to see 
From where their souls this comfort get: 
The earth soothes, 
For the truth it knows  
And all of creation 
Pays reverence to their souls 

With comforting soft welcome 
The land, their bodies receives 
From there, on The Day they shall rise 
And the Lord to them shall speak

Muniba Mahmud

About the Poet

A self described compulsive writer, Muniba Mahmud works with poetry and prose (long-form, short stories). Her work frequently speaks to social injustice, spirituality and to the diasporic experience.
She runs Rawanee - an initiative to support creative thought and expression, and oversees its major initiatives including the production of its podcast, publications and events.
Originally from Pakistan, she currently resides in the UK.