Poem introduction

A small group of short poems concerned with conflict, and were written directly as a response to the terrorist attack of 9/11. The titles all begin with 'how', in the style of a fable. It did seem then, for a short period of time, as if the world really was in danger of dividing in two: the Muslim world, and the rest of the world.

How the World Split in Two

Was it widthways or lengthways,
a quarrel with the equator?
Did the rawness of the inside sparkle?

Only this is true:
there was an arm on one side
and a hand on the other,
a thought on one side
and a hush on the other.

And a luminous tear
carried on the back of a beetle
went backwards and forwards
from one side to the other.


from Split Word: Poems 1990-2005 (Bloodaxe, 2008), © Moniza Alvi 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Recordings

Moniza Alvi Downloads

1I Would Like to be a Dot in a Painting by Miró

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2I Was Raised in a Glove Compartment

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3Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan

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4Arrival 1946

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5The Country at My Shoulder

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6The Sari

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7Map of India

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8Domain

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9And If

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10The Wedding

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11An Unknown Girl

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12Carrying My Wife

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13All Fours

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14My Wife's Problem

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15Living Alone

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16An April Walk

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17Blood

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18Without Us

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19Bat

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20Escape

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21Great and Small

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22Do They Miss Us

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23Yes

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24Nothing

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25Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

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26How the World Split in Two

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27How the Sky Got a Hole in It

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28How the Words Feared the Mouth

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29How Yesterday Joined Today and Tomorrow

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30How the Stone Found Its Voice

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31Rural Scene

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32Shift

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33Her Symptoms

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34Memory Memory

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35In Response

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36The Sleeping Wound

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37Mermaid

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38Hanging

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39A Gift

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40Upholding the 'I'

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42King Agenor

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43from 'At the Time of Partition' - The Line

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44from 'At the Time of Partition' - And Now

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