• Tony Frobisher

Once in Lahore

Once In Lahore


I did not dare

To stride the Zam Zammah,

In homage to Kipling.

Legs ‘a-Kim-bo,'

Firing dreams into

The humid air, ripe

With monsoon under

A puce sky, daubed

With heavy grey clouds,

And waiting the first

Cannon crack of thunder.


I did not intend

To dip my hands in

The cool, still pools

Of Shalamar Bagh.

The surface waters quivering

In a gentle afternoon breeze,

Blurring my reflection

To a bokeh photograph.

The late asr sun

Dipping towards sunset.


I did not expect to

Be facing a 10 year old

Mini Wasim Akram,

Under the silent gaze

Of Minar-e-Pakistan.

Whipping a pull to leg

And scattering cricket loving pigeons.

As the ebullient youngsters gave

Chase to reclaim the ball

And the first raindrops fell with a splatter.

But rain wouldn’t stop play today.


I did not anticipate to be sat

With the fervent and the famished,

Returned from maghrib prayer.

The devout devouring delicious

Bowls of steaming daal chawal and

Plates of moreish pillau rice.

The ire of heated arguments cooled by

Communal prayer and falooda.

Eyes flashing with the evening lightning,

Voices raised above the storm.

Yet here in this cafe, calm and friendship,


I did not understand the varied

Tongue that spiced the air with

Punjabi, Pashto and Urdu,

Fragrant and filling the cool night air

With flowing, cursive sound.

Yet I found welcome and grace

And passion and pride in the myriad

Streets and the plethora of faces that

All smiled in the same Lahori language.

The foreigner, a traveller, accommodated not just for a day and night as the Prophet PBUH said.

But accommodated forever in the heart.






















Memories of a wonderful trip in the evocative Pakistani city of Lahore, 1996.











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