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Poem by Rehan Qayoom – Upon Clifton Bridge July 2, 2016

Posted by vscorpiozine in Uncategorized.

Upon Clifton Bridge …

After Parveen Shakir.

I have said that Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.

William Wordsworth. Preface to Lyrical Ballads. 1801, 1802.


Clifton Bridge
Well-travelled by the city Elite
Upon which the high and mighty Traffic Policemen
Are seen to perform their duties
Around the clock
Including, 6 or 7 undercover
Not even an unconcerned bird may flit its wings around them!
I saw her!
In a deep ochre
Gold sequined dress
Every fold aligned!
Her Lipstick so dark
That my eyes were drenched in it
Her Foundation dripping in the mid-May sun
Seemed to say
No amount of money can buy this*
Her face caked by the smoke of a cigarette
Stuck between her fingers drowned in clear blue Nail Polish-drowned fingers
With those captivating glances and such gesticulations
She could easily have been arrested by the Police under Clause 294
Parked at the Traffic Signal I thought
Any time now, this PC will hand over an arrest warrant
To this heroine of one of Minto’s novels
But before he could Book her
A car with a navy-blue Number Plate
Parked up
And she disappeared into it
Along with her Clause 294 persona
While the plain-clothed P. C.
Stood aghast!

* Literally ‘Wealth and beauty do not see eye to eye’.


Rehan Qayoom is a poet of English and Urdu, editor, translator and archivist, educated at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has featured in numerous literary publications and performed his work internationally.  He is the author of About Time.




1. bzniditch - July 2, 2016

An unsettled moving poem of achievement.

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