‘The Worship room’ by Afshan Shafi

I saw what green walls, they had cocooned you in, with the refrain of your

rosaries, brighter and brighter each evening, hemic knots cored and plucked into

half moons, gold -sheaved narcissi starred with cochineal,

the lilt of your white fractals; colder at dawn.

incantations, scour the helix of the ceiling and substance of your hands

Here you dare to hope or pray, or sleep to find yourself tethered in a nest of amber,

the blueness of a dove’s intonation at your spine,

A child’s hark to adumbrated bliss.

Will nothing steer you from this steep lull?  stroking the dove’s throat with a kind

of reverence, stunned into the plight of making;

astral ether, steel lashes, nacre pillory with hands, petal-resigned

Will nothing move you to free yourself

From this yoke of rose and ice amazement?

Will nothing move you to bear upon your own silence, with wings sanguine,

Each camber of dove pose

quickening to the cant of a plumbed scale,

willing you softly

to alight upon

the throng of selves

you deny as simulacrums,

flooding you with a kind of cardinal honesty,

cuffing you to the warm effulgence

in your voice and ears,

bringing you, starred with belief


spirit’s iris.

Afshan ShafiPoet’s Bio: Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore, Pakistan and has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Regent’s University London. Her poems have appeared in 3am magazine, ditch, Full of Crow, The Toucan, Mad Swirl, Visual verse, Black heart magazine and others. Her debut collection of poems ‘Odd Circles’ was published by Readings (Pakistan) in 2014. She is the editor of the forthcoming Abbreviate Journal.

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