Confession – Huda Javed

When she had hair that shone in the blistering sun

My name is Huda Javed, I’m 16 years old. This poem was inspired by my observation in the difference between the generation of British-Pakistani’s, who grew up within a new, modernised culture, compared with that of my parents, who grew up in Pakistan. It highlights that the youngerBest generation values different things and aspects of life compared with previous generations. I used the object of hair as it is a symbol in Pakistan, among women, of youth. The poem expresses underlying tones of nostalgia and an ignorance to what we possess when we are young.


My mother cried,

When I cut my hair. 

When she saw the dark locks,

Littered on the white tiles

Of the bathroom floor.

It was just so heavy,

Like carrying a sack,

Laden with stones.

Too weighty to pile atop my head,

Too much to let loose, 

Too wild to set free.

A creature of its own, that battled me daily –

It clawed as I combed,

Snarled when I gathered it roughly,

Forcing it into a knot – 

That I knew wouldn’t hold.

When I washed it with water,

It yowled and it yapped

When I tamed it with oils and sweet-smelling ointments,

It scowled and it snorted

At my futile attempts.

I gave up on my efforts,

Left it to grow and bask 

In its short victory –

The ends grew wispy, rough and neglected,

Split with confusion and weak with dejection.

The wild mass grew tired and lost its spirit,

The fearless black, of a starless night sky,

Faded, into a cloudy dusk.

Holding my scissors,

Before I could hesitate and think of

The severity of this cut,

At the missing cape that fell to my waist

At the fresh strands that would brush my shoulders 

And the plait that wouldn’t snake down 

My spine 

But tickle my neck with starker ends.

I looked at the floor,

And saw what my mother would see,

Not dark locks covering my feet 

And the white tiles

Of the bathroom floor.

But a rejection –

Of a gift,

Of the motherland

She left behind – 

When she had hair that shone in the blistering sun

And sailed past her waist,

That whipped in the wind 

And flew in her face.

Hair that was her pride 

And her fading grace – 

That she lost 

When the strands grew limp and tired with age.

She put up a fight,

Caring and nursing 

With oils and ointments that came from the garden

Trying to preserve

The rich dark river

That flowed down her back,

Burdened with honour and gladness.

The missing weight,

That used to drag at my head – 

A reminder to her 

Of the step that I took,

Away from home –

A lesson 

For when the strands go limp and tired with age,

Of the dark, fearless cape,

Of a starless night sky 

That once brushed my waist.

Huda Javed

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

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