Saturday, December 18, 2010

Poetry Express

Some Moments of Love by Hamza Hassan Sheikh
(Shirkat Press);
Reviewed by Carolyn O’Connell
This first collection by Hamza Hassan Sheikh, a Pakistani poet from D. I. Khan, is reminiscent of the romantic genre in that it is a sequence of poems on the theme of love. Do not reject it because of that, it is truly modern and absorbing. His use of metaphor is direct, often harsh as in the opening poem ‘Crystalline Eyes’ which starts ‘The moment my eyes crashed with hers, /I was captured by the cage/ of her blue and crystalline/eternally.’ The combination of ‘crashed’ with ‘cage’ and ‘crystalline’ is as taught as any to be found in new publications yet contains echoes of the English cannon. The poems turn from joy to sorrow as they are read, particularly in the first half of the book. Do they record the life of the young man or are they directed to the ideal, we do not know, but they are none the less pertinent? Some of the poems have taken small instances such as ‘Empty Goblets’ or ‘A Lily Flower’ and turned them into exquisite Sapphic and rubaic verse that doesnot appear to be directed at any one lover but is true of all our loves. The title poem ‘Some Moments of Love’ is in my opinion the epitome of the sapphic, relating to our cannon. ‘In her Search’ will be relevant to any that mourn after the tsunami? I found this a book to keep by the bedside, to lift one up, or to find an appropriate poem. I do not know whether Hamza Hassan writes in English or whether this is a translation. His writing spans continents, culture and time.

Daily Nation

Bespeaking love-thirst into spiritual search

Reviews By: Javiad-ur-Rehman

Published By: The Nation, Islamabad. 3rd March, 2006.

Highlighting the soft inner feelings a book Some Moments of Love by a young poet Hamza Hassan Khan has been published.
The writer dedicated the book to his parents. The book consisting of 45 long and short poems on different topics including ‘Valley of love’, ‘A waxen doll’, ‘Dream’, ‘Love in rain’, ‘My Heart’s frame’, ‘Quatrain’, ‘Tears’ and ‘For my love, from my love.’
Hamza Hassan Sheikh is a romantic new voice. “I must refer to my belief that there is a Keats hidden in every person.” Said Ejaz Rahim, adding that “poems with sensuous touch are Hamza’s favourite vocation. He reveals in his instinctive desire to love and to be loved, and that appears to be the fountainhead of his muse.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Hamza has taken the first step. In the due course, instinct, emotion and intellect will bear fruit and add new dimensions to his poems.
Giving remarks on young poet Prof. (Dr) Ram Krishna Singh from Indian school of Mines (India) said that Hamza’s lyrical poems bespeak a heightened awareness turning his love-thirst into spiritual search.
The astrayed gipsy in him promises joys of a Sufi wandering against the colours of rainbow, or moon in ‘Lake deep eyes’ embrace with the beloved ‘in rain drops’ or view of decorated garland in her hairs.’
The author of book Hamza Hassan Sheikh said that he opened the eyes in the city of D.I.Khan to feel the fragrance of hurly-burly world. Journey of life passed on by murdering the desires and parching the hopes, which seems like a flash. “I started writing, composing poems in my early youth,” he said, adding that he got myriad treasures of sincere and loving friends.

Patricia Prime

Some Moments of Love, Hamza Hassan Sheikh. Shirkat Printing Press.

Reviewed By Patricia Prime

The cover of Some Moments of Love depicts a romantic image of a young girl with a background of the sea, sunset and birds. In this, his first collection, Hamza Hassan Sheikh, writes about romantic love, his spiritual journey and nature. He has created an extraordinarily moving and poetic universe, at once richly physical and uncompromisingly metaphysical. Hamza Hassan Sheikh makes an emphatic step in these poems over the physical frontier into another space:

I saw towards the colourless sky
And thought
That in her eyes
All blueness of indigo sky has gathered
And there is no rescue.

Some Moments of Love contains poems that are hymns to love and life, grandly dense, hallucinatory in their intensity, lyrics of romance, passion and intimacy that circle each other like satellites. The poems are rhythmically driven, and dense with allusions, music and ideas. What the poet displays is spiritual determination, self-discipline. There’s nothing vague about his words: they aim at precise self-identification. The self’s trappings are elucidated and avoided:

The faces seem innocent
We love them.
But when they betray us,
The same innocent, pretty faces
Turn cruel, very cruel.
Now it’s enough,
Give me a chance!

The mystical lens is inevitably wide-angled, but universal empathy is not the first thing on his mind: self-salvation is his immediate target, the passionate nature of his own feelings the first limitation to surpass:

Look at my plight,
I have abided you in my sights
Turning over my youth,
Just on you.

Such a use of figurative language is quite rare in Some Moments of Love even when it is used it’s not to fire the imagination but to enlighten the mind-which is fine. The crux is this: for the words to function as pointers to a truer dimension of existence then they must be memorable in themselves; few of these poems are strong enough to lodge themselves in the mind. Fragile and far-removed from the hurly-burly of most contemporary writing, Hamza Hassan Sheikh is determined to explore the nature of romance and to make it a spiritual journey is perhaps a little too overt at times, and the poems are most successful where moments of hallucinatory vision catch up all the ideas and fuse them into something more, as in Love’s Force,

When the bloom danced with breeze
And it bent towards me,
By your love’s mighty force.

The poet is a natural observer, and one who continues to look long after most people would allow their gaze to drift. And it’s just then that the sun’s rays touch his face, or capricious draughts of the cool breeze dance on blooms and boughs. A rainbow appears and the poet sees pictures of himself and his lover appearing in the rain drops.

This very precise yet sensory writing is characteristic of Hamza Hassan Sheikh’s poetry, and it earths his subject matter. In “A Meeting”, he talks about a girl he once met and says,

‘I will help you’ to again her I told
In the dark shadow your hand I will hold.

These shadows are very much what Hamza Hassan Sheikh captures in his poetry.

The title of the collection is apt: these are romantic moments, stories set in a territory that belong to the poet, but could have a universal truth to them.

Daily Statesman

Some Moments of Love: Poetry of desires, aspirations and sentiments

Reviewed By: Aftab Ahmad, Gandhara News Network (GNN)

Published in: Daily Statesman, Peshawar. 23 August 2004

The proverb Dera Tey Phulan Da Sehra (Dera Ismail Khan is the garland of flowers) is often quoted by the Seraiki and Hindko-speaking population of the province to point to the culturally rich land of the talented people that lies at the southern end of NWFP. Hamza Hassan sheikh is a new voice from the same area whose first collection of poems Some Moments of Love has hit the market in June this year.
The 72 page poetic collection has 45 poems on different topics. The compositions are loaded with desires, aspirations and sentiments. The poet has mostly tried to compose the love and pathetic poems. Though at times he has adopted the rhyme scheme in some of his poems, mostly they are in blank verse. However, meter exists. Some of the poems can be measured as one line from top to toe.
The reflection of classical poets of the English literature can be traced in some of the compositions which overshadows the individuality and beauty of the poet. Hamza does not care for the symmetry in some of his parallel and comparative lines perhaps to express his ideas the way he likes.
The poetry in ‘Moments of love’ is totally subjective and personal. He looks around himself. There are no cosmic worries and problems. There are no touches or pinches of humanity, no burning issues of today. He prefers not to bring new topics to the readers. He has aptly created a new building on the remains of the old foundation.  
A great critic, Walter Pater says style is the man. It is the combination of subject matter and manner. In Hamza’s poetry, the subject matter is the same old one. We can see the oriental love experiences, though the mode of communication is occidental and his style is not peculiar to his own sort as well.
In the whole poetic anthology of Hamza, the depth of ideas, pondering and meditations; search for the unknown. Some mystic and spiritual experiences are the characteristics of Hamza’s poetry. The same fact has been felt and described by Ejaz Rahim, a bureaucrat-cum-poet who has Urdu and English poetic collections to his credit and has written the preface of the book under review.
Of the poet’s diction, Ejaz Rahim writes “There is a Keats hidden in every person. Poems with sensuous touch are Hamza’s favorite vocation. He reveals in his instinctive desire to love and to be loved, and that appears to be fountainhead of his muse. Hamza has taken the first step (of journey of a thousand miles). In due course, instinct, emotion and intellect will bear fruit and add new dimensions to his poems.”
Commenting upon the poetry of Hamza, professor Dr Ram Krishna Singh, Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian school of Mines, India, writes: “Hamza’s lyrical poems bespeak a heightened awareness, turning his love-thirst into spiritual search. The ‘astrayed gipsy’ in him promises joys of a Sufi wandering against the colours of rainbows, or moon in ‘lake deep eyes’, or embraced with the beloved ‘in rain drops’ or view of ‘decorated garlands in her hairs.’
Further explaining his style, the professor writes: “Writing with a sense of form and rhyme, Hamza shares with us different moments of beauty, affection, hope, happiness, dream and disappointment just as he contrasts various themes in varying moods-from spring morning and winter evening to falling of snow and astraying in the desert.”
Some Moments of Love can be termed a good effort by a young man who is trying to soar higher and higher behind the curtain of delicate poems.  

Bernard M Jackson

SOME MOMENTS OF LOVE ---- Poems By Hamza Hassan Sheikh -----Rs. 100

Reviewed By: Bernard M Jackson, England

Your face is like a verdant rose,
Expressed in poetry or in prose.
In the shadow of your smile
Let me survive just for a while.

All the world loves a lover, and doubly so when, like a welcome songbird, his overwhelming passion and sensitivity are duly transcribed into that essential area of lyricism that the literary world has come to know as poetry. Hamza Hassan Sheikh, a forceful young romantic with an eye for light and shade, and the minutiae of accompanying descriptive detail, has (like so many idealist poets before him) taken the plunge and, gathering together a number of his choicest love poems, accordingly. Hamza, it must be noted, is resident of Pakistan, a country whose poets are seldom represented in international literary circles. In welcoming Hamza to our developing literary fraternity, we trust that many fellow-countrymen of his acquaintance will be duly inspired to follow in his footsteps to help build yet another bridge of peace between the nations.
While it may be argued that Hamza has a good command of English, and can therefore readily draw upon a fairly wide range of selective vocabulary, there do remain areas of expression in his syntax, generally, that are some what at variance with standard English expression. However, there is no doubting the sincerity and sheer passion of his out pouring in verse which, at times, reach momentary heights of lyricism:

When new bloom blossomed and cool breeze blew,
Then in the spread out mist,
It touched my cheeks,
Bringing a message of your love.

(Love’s Force)

There is in this poet’s verse a strong element of pain of loss (of a loved-one). Here we encounter the familiar heartache of unrequited love, as the poet alternates between vivid daydreams (half-hoping to recapture some of that earlier loving rapture) and, at other times, the introduction of death imagery and figures of the emptiness remaining in this day-to-day life, after his former lover had finally departed from his company:

I was dying with the dead desire,
Couldn’t seek love who pushed me in pain’s mire.
(Astraying in the desert)

The desert imagery, contained in the previous mentioned poem is, of course, symptomatic and particularly symbolic of a phase in his human existence which the poet realizes to be entirely barren and unproductive. There is here, too, a heightened awareness with indications of distinct spiritual learning’s, as Hamza’s thoughtful search for love finds loftier motivation.

Those who study poetic development in out romantic younger folk would do well to read this writer’s word, for its main interest lies in the fact that he is typically a promising young poet, in the embryo. In the years to come, I feel sure that his attractive verse will improve quite considerably with the added assistance of a meticulous revision of all initial drafting’s of his work; an important measure that must be taken if his writings are to meet with the universal approval of his fellow writers. We await Hamza’s future submitted work with great interest.

Dr Kalpna Rajput

Different shades of love in Hamza Hassan’s ‘Some Moments of Love’

Reviewed By: Dr. Kalpna Rajput

Some Moments of Love, Hamza Hassan Sheikh’s first collection of poems is an incessant flow of beautiful love lyrics from his heart to the hearts of whole mankind. Reading this collection is simply enjoying the sweet moments of affection, charm, beauty, desires, dreams and their turning it into reality and sometimes into nightmares, hope, happiness, illusions and disappointment arising out of love. He has beautifully arranged these love lyrics into the garland of this collection which appears to be a simple and sober offering voice to love. Dr. R K Singh rightly observes, “He sounds a human voice, dominated by an elusive beloved in a poetic world which carries a deft touch with emotion and feeling.” [1]
He gives words to his meeting with a lady beautifully:

The moment my eyes crashed with her
I was captured in the cage
Of her blue and crystalline eyes
Eternally. [2]

At another place, he makes a search for his beloved who has left the world and gone into depth:

Like a roving leaf flying with the air

He leaves himself to the fate and in desire to see her:

I jumped into sea to go into depth
To meet my beloved I embraced the death. [3]

Some of his poems such as Meeting, While Playing Flute, Some Moments of Love, Love in rain, Waxen doll, Love’s force and Fog of love give bent to the hope in hapless life of lovers. In A Meeting he soothes a fascinated but perplexed girl and finally at his faithful approval, she responses him. While playing flute pictures the happy meeting of the two lovers in the magical tune of flute. In some moments of love he makes his meeting with the beloved more beautiful by caring heartily for each other:

If you feel weariness than hold my hand
Then we both will walk on the grassy land.
Taking hand in hand I will walk with you,
Then at that instant love will become true. [4]

Poems like Gorgon, Buried love, Garland, Known Stranger, Astraying in desert, blow the sir of disappointment and frustration in love. He shows his disappointment realistically leaving a thin line of sadness on the heart of the readers. But in spite of facing the torments in love, he is still hoping for his beloved’s arrival in Buried love:

I put wreath of flowers
On tomb-stone
For her arrival;
To delight my dreadful glooms.

In Known Stranger he is so much shattered at heart that he suspects at his ability to love:

Leaving me alone
Crushed my love,
Under feet.
Perhaps I can’t get skill or ability
To love her. [6]

From bubbles to Rainbow is his simple and magnificent poem merging love into nature and ultimately universalizing it:

When clouds dispersed,
Then these seven colours
Decorated forehead of sky
Showing our love
In the shape of rainbow.  [7]

Beloved Moon, In Falling of Snow, Magic Statue and Once You Come mark the clear sentiments breathing in the heart of a lover who always lost in the dreams of his beloved. Dr.B.K.Das aptly remarks, “Love is one of the major themes of poetry although the ages. Like God, love is beyond any definition and also multi-dimensional. It is the bed-rock of life. Hence, it is not without any justification that poets treat it as a prime theme in poetry.” [8]

This maiden collection of the poet is truly a splendid work in all the way. I hope his star of creativity will shine brightly in the canopy of literature. Mr. Ejaz Rahim says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Hamza, has taken the first step. In due course of time, instinct, emotion and intellect will bear fruit and add new dimensions to his poems.” [9]


  1. Sheikh, Hamza Hassan, outer Blurb of Some moments of love
  2. 2. Ibid. ‘Crystalline Eyes’ p.11
  3. 3.Ibid. ‘In her search’ p.14
  4. 4.Ibid. ‘Some Moents of love’ p.39
  5. 5. Ibid. ‘Buried love’ p.37
  6. Ibid. p.42
  7. Ibid. p.22
  8. B.K.Das. Love and death in Indian poetry in English. Ed. S.N.A. Rizvi, New Dehli: Doaba House, (1989) p.72
9.  Sheikh, ‘preface’ p.7

Shaleen Kumar Singh

Reviewed By: Shaleen Kumar Singh, M.A, LL.B. Sai Neeharika, Patiyali Sarai,
Budaun. U.P. India, Pin-243601

“Hamza Hassan sheikh is a romantic new voice from D.I.Khan….poems with sensuous touch are Hamza’s favorite vocation. He reveals in his instinctive desire to love and to be loved, and that appears to be the fountain-head of his muse.” Says Ejaz Rahim.

The first collection of Hamza is the evidence of revivification of romanticism and reinvention of symbols, imagery, subjectivism, joyous and painful longings, unfulfilled desires, pangs, perforations, and deed ecstasy of a lover. The collection is replete with love and its myriad aspects wherein, from meeting to parting, joys to sorrows, hope to dejection, memory to reality. Everything is transubstantiated into poetry. The book commences with heart-felt and loving dedication to Mr.Mujahid Bashir and poet’s parents that mirrors his love-laden heart which is hinting his feelings towards his friends and patrons as well as the lovers. The first poem crystallizes the feelings of the poet into a solid imagery and eternalizes the beauty:

The moment my eyes crashed with her
I was captured in the cage
Of her blue and crystalline eyes

The poet is always in the quest of knowledge and ideals. His constant search for the eternal makes him to face numberless imageries and inclinations. Sometimes when he inquires about the genesis of poetry, saying:

The question arose, what’s poetry

His hearty replies:

Secret of mind, heart’s speaking
A process to convey message
Sign of sensitivity
A passionate feeling
Like between the ideals.

The metaphorical inclinations of the poet continue up to long and end with a slight different image of drawn by Wordsworth about poetry spontaneous overflow emotions recollected in tranquility, when the poet utters about poetry:

Overflow of emotions
From heart
In the speech of pen.

The collection has beautiful metrical poems imbued with the colours of nature and love. For example in the falling of snow the poet pictures the snowfall beautifully:

On the mountain’s top, in falling of snow,
Sometimes fast like storm, sometimes very slow.

‘A Meeting’ depicts the charming looks of a girl:

Once I meet to a fascinating girl
Her face was glistening like lovely pearl.

The poem ‘Some moments of love’ comprises the conversation of a lover to his love:

She saw towards me and gave me a rose,
A symbol of love as it arose.
Then she said, I love you. Don’t go away
And I will remove the thorns of your way.

The poets projected self is romantic in all senses of the term. He is a love’s traveler untied and unfulfilled:

Just one penny of love
She didn’t give
For my hungry heart
For my thirsty eyes.

The bowl remained empty
Which I wanted so much to fill
For my love
From my love.

Though poet’s imagination soars in the heaven of joy and fantasy, yet his encounter with grim realities of life saddens the poet. Eventually tears become the only outbursts that narrate the whole truth through the eyes:

Sign of grief
Sadness messenger
Love’s failure
Betrayal of friends\pain’s ocean
Which takes birth inside
Then sea water flows
Through eyes.

Despite all such thick and thin, the poet is aware of the role of a true poet. Like Frost he has to thread on a long journey with out taking a breath of rest:

In the tumult of world, I wanted fame,
In the hearts of people, from pole to pole
As I have no title before my name
I will try all the best to play my role.

To sum up it can be said that the fragrance and grandeur of poet’s poetic flower will bloom ever more in the garden of poetry sand it is hoped that the poet will weave more wraths of verses in the years to come and will not stop.