Dream and Reality .... we need to dream if
we are to survive in the theatre of life... dream is our sustenance for
survival against the harshness of reality.
Hina Babar Ali has captured the sting of reality, weaving around it a
web of deep spiritual sustenance. She rambles through the ambrosia of
love, haunting memories, crescendoing hopes, blissful aspirations,
hurtling disappointment, spiritual elevation then once again dejection.
thus returning again and again to the habitat of spiritual sanctuary and
the sublime state of Sufism.
The poems are couched and cushioned with a labyrinth of love and intense
sensitivity, yet Hina Babar Ali cannot be classified as only a romantic
poet, for she has full command of the language that flows with harmony
and insight, spinning on a wheel of spirituality and discord. But it is
not her poems that stir my own sensitivity, but the truth that it
reveals the many competent facets of the author herself.
She passes through her meandering submissions, presenting the
multifaceted concepts of her emotional involvement and analytic
understanding of situations. She portrays the vast dimensions of not
only her emotional and spiritual experiences, but also her political
awareness, her deep sense of patriotism and her courage, as she pensher
political awareness, her deep sense of patriotism and her courage, as
she pens her poetry in a rare style that conveys her analytic mind and
ability, combined with a sincere forthright delivery. To enjoy and
appreciate Dream and Reality one must strip the outer bark to uncover
and observe the finer markings that are ingrained in good quality wood,
which in itself is a beauty to behold.
Begum Anese Majid Khan
Syeda Hina Babar Ali has written poetry
since she was nine years old. Her early poems were published in
Connexions, Inspirations, Mundus Artium, Asiaweek, The
Pakistan Times, The Nation and The News. Her first volume of
poetry Wet Sun was published with illustrations in 1982 and Midnight
Dialogue in 1989. Hina Babar Ali was born in Lahore and educated at The
Convent of Jesus and Mary, The Cathedral School and Kinnaird College.
She went on to the University of Michigan to do her B.A. and M.A. in
Literature. She works at Packager Limited as Group Brand Manager and
heads the Consumer Products Division.
I reclined on the armchair of dreams
and the leaves beneath my feet
rustled and turned yellow to green.
In the night, the ambulance breaks
the silence that we crave for
and in the afternoon sun,
all things seem Holy.
I opened your letter reluctantly
to find new uses for old words,
and they flowed away like a black river
dying from pollution of thoughts
already cremated in ivory towers
near the hill of erupting dreams.
And as I walked into
the shadow of a tree,
I saw a refreshing image
of you upon the green.
I touched the cool
fresh blades and found
my hand was alone in the grass.
The sky was bright and clear.
I saw miles
beyond my being –
where the sparrow sings
and the raven sits.
The Shrinking Planet
The man runs away with money
and who will ask him to stop?
It rains and the sun shines –
the clouds are lost.
Sewage and chemicals dumped
in rivers – the fish choke and die.
Trees cut down for fuel and
the land stands naked
in barren fear as it slides
and sinks to the river’s floor.
The temperature rises slowly
and the sins of mankind
are atoned in a living hell
of pollution, denudation, exploitation
and over population.
The world turns sour as leaders
exchange angry replies
and who will shape human destiny
on a planet smothered by blinding egos?
The soul roams through streets and
finds peace has deserted the home
and there is restlessness on the
campaign grounds of historical monuments.
The self is fighting with the self
and the soul is leaving the soul
and the planet is too small –
find another place to live
and call home.