I'VE poured my WINE

The bureaucrat with poetic flair

This is an article written by Imtiaz Ali on Sunday, March 31, 2013  in THE NEWS from Print Edition, Karachi. Imtiaz says:

There is much to reflect upon when M Syre, a young trilingual writer with a bureaucratic background, says that to survive in this bitter world, you have to suppress your sensibility to some extent. He reflects these feelings in his poem, “The corpse of my feelings”, in his poetry book titled “Silence of the Piano Sings” published by AuthorHouse UK in 2011. “Apparently, you have to become insensitive given the bitterness of life experiences,” he suggests while having a chat with The News.

Syre says a lot of elements inspire him such as beauty, love, humanity, struggle, emotions, imagination, etc. But also captivating his imagination is the quagmire of poverty, pushing his focus on “the literature for the sake of life”. In a poem titled “With one leg chopped off”, he presents a contrast between the haves and the haves-not, two classes and two lifestyles on the same road:

“With one leg chopped off,

a half-naked, malnourished, starving child

crawls along

a roasting hot metalled road

utterly oblivious to the

chill and exotic perfume

dancing inside

the luxurious

Aston Martin

screeching across the road.”

Syre has traveled extensively and also comments on the events that occurred in other countries. In a poem, he depicts the situation Afghanistan in the following words:

“…Let Kabul writhe on

the bumpy, rutted path

of her politics…”

Syre is also inspired by his background. Thus, he frequently mentions Moenjodaro, Indus River, etc in his poems. He describes the Thar Desert in the following words:

“A lonely, forlorn hill

in the heart of

an infinite desert

echoes back

the cry of ages…”

His poetry also touches emotions:

The trumpets blow;

locale echoes

with wedding songs.

The bride and groom

are just blessed out.

The parents, friends,

the neighbours and

the guests go mad

dancing wildly!…

The vibrant songs

ooze an aura

of mirth and fun.

Life sings dances

in souls; and death

just smirks unseen!”

Syre was the additional deputy commissioner of Badin when devastating floods struck the district. He says he only slept two hours daily for one and a half months that time and the floods brought some “changes” to his life. He has narrated his experiences in his poetry and plans to get it published separately.

About the titled of his book, the poet says one can seek the rhythm of the piano by just feeling it. “I see the world singing and dancing through centuries in these black and white keys of the piano.” This is his first poetry book in English language. He started writing since the 1990s and his first poetry book was published in early 2001 in his mother tongue, Sindhi. He says his third poetry book in Urdu language was under publication. Syre has recently finished writing his first novel in English language – inspires by history and civilization. It is also under publication. It starts from 326 BC and ends in 1899, covering Moenjodaro, the Alexandrian period, the colonial era, etc. “Definitely, it requires reading a lot of books on the Indo-Pak history.”

About his family background and joining of the civil service, Syre says his father, A Hafeez Halepoto, and his grandfather, Haji Abdul Hayat, were also poets. He joined the civil service by appearing in the CSS exam on insistence of his parents, he recalls with a smile. But he finds his job as a bureaucrat gratifying. He is presently the head of the Sindh government’s USAID Sindh Basic Education Programme. “It is not a static job; I feel the variety of life being associated with different departments and working in the field. There’s a lot of learning.”

2 Comments

  • Syre

    Following is a comment that I found at the end of the article on the same webpage written almost five months from now.

    By Zahid Ali

    In the time, when intolerance almost overwhelms society , social disorder within the society bit by bit jolts roots of life of a common person, an emotional attitude of a bureaucrat towards the issues of common person’s life, be they of any kind avoidable or unavoidable, useful or useless, deserved or undeserved is simply a good omen for under-privileged people of the world. zahid.jatoi@gmail.com

  • Syre

    In fact, I feel it pertinent to mention here that the interviewer had a brief discourse with me, and as a result of that discourse, which was principally focused on my book SILENCE OF THE PIANO SINGS, he wrote this article. Eventually, he has tried his level best to interrelate the interview discussion with the poetry he read from the book. Nonetheless, I have just one point to add here that the reference to my ‘insensitivity’ as shown in the first para of the article was in fact a reference that I had made in relation to my poem “The Corpse of My Feelings”, rather than a generalized statement as to my understanding of life.

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