The Jihad of English People

The jihad of English people

is to bear the blankness of grey days

to wade through a million petty gripes

without sinking into sourness

The jihad of mothers is trudging forwards

while a four-year-old tugs their hand backwards

to block out the screeching and the ingratitude

kicks, scratches and cusses and

still see a glow of hope around their kids

The jihad of postal workers is

going unnoticed except when they are absent

to remember how essential they are even when never thanked

The jihad of café workers in train stations

is to still feel life is new after making their

thousandth cappuccino

The jihad of company CEOS is

to tread water in crest and crash and

take the blame when blame is due 

instead of laying off worker bees in swarms

while they escape in a waxed Mercedes

The jihad of wives is to cycle through dozens of functions

– counseller, ironer, reminder of socks’ destiny

in laundry baskets, confidante, financial adviser, alarm clock for

important events, shoulder masseuse, head chef

without a wage, not to mention their jihad as mothers

and company CEOS or postal workers too – 

while staying centred amid the spin

The jihad of husbands is to notice that cycle and compliment them on it

and not be bewildered when their uncomplimented wives bawl

The jihad of doctors is to keep their hearts unglazed 

even when administering their umpteen death sentence 

because the next they hear might be their own

The jihad of ease is to stay unmuffled 

rejoin the whole instead of hiding behind alarmed gates

caressed by blandishments and easy fixes

The jihad of separation is to bear the body’s longing for closeness

without anaesthetising its need or punishing it for its desire

It is all an uphill walk through muddy fields

with the four-year-old of your ego

tugging backwards on your hand

whining for ice-cream or a carry

a jihad that has no killer dimensions

only weariness

and loneliness

and fear that it is all in vain

We patriots of the human nation

wake each day as untagged soldiers

every tiny struggle borne in noble, ordinary causes

an unreported chance for us to be

a hero.

3 thoughts on “The Jihad of English People

  1. Beautiful mashallah : 🙂

    I especially love the last lines

    “We patriots of the human nation

    wake each day as untagged soldiers

    every tiny struggle borne in noble, ordinary causes

    an unreported chance for us to be

    a hero.”

  2. Pingback: Gaza + Motherhood: Invisible Heroism | Cavemum

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