Poem introduction

Growing up in England and feeling half-Pakistani, I felt a bit on the edge of things. Sometimes that can be a good place to be, a vantage point.

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

I would like to be a dot in a painting by Miró.

Barely distinguishable from other dots,
it’s true, but quite uniquely placed.
And from my dark centre

I’d survey the beauty of the linescape
and wonder – would it be worthwhile
to roll myself towards the lemon stripe,

Centrally poised, and push my curves
against its edge, to get myself
a little extra attention?

But it’s fine where I am.
I’ll never make out what’s going on
around me, and that’s the joy of it.

The fact that I’m not a perfect circle
makes me more interesting in this world.
People will stare forever

– Even the most unemotional get excited.
So here I am, on the edge of animation,
a dream, a dance, a fantastic construction,

A child’s adventure.
And nothing in this tawny sky
can get too close, or move too far away.


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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