The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | Let Me Go Back, (But Even Then, Everything Turns To Dust)
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Let Me Go Back, (But Even Then, Everything Turns To Dust)

Photo by Haseeb Jamil on Unsplash


The following poem was written after I visited Pakistan after a period of eleven years. I was drawn to write about what I saw, faces I was familiar with but also those that were new and previously unrecognisable. I likewise wanted to express my feelings in writing and cover the subject of time and its progression in life but also allow it to not entirely be specific to one given location, so it could perhaps relate to many different people.


Let me go back,

And see everyone,

Before either I,

Or they leave,

Before the faces of childhood,

Are changed into young adults,

Before the wise,

Pass before me,

And I regret not having had,

One more chance,

Before we’re too occupied,

And lost,

With our troubles,

Before I become,

Just another person,

Lost in the world,

Who can’t connect at all,

Before the children of youth,

Lose interest,

And all the memories that meant something,

Are just that.


But even if all that mattered,

Nothing could ever,

Stop what would come.


The old guard will pass,

As the new order take over,

The ones in charge,

Will see fresher faces,

The toughened men,

Will be weakened away,

In the place,

Of their predecessors,

Sitting and living,

Their lives away,

The ones we know,

And remember well,

Will be gone,

And the next generation,

May be too far away,

For them to see,

With open eyes,

It will have to be seen,

If the times of remembrance,

And memories,

Will be the same,

But it’s a cycle,

That will never end.

Awais Iqbal

Hailing from East London, Awais has been writing short stories and poetry since a very young age. At the same time his interest in reading helped spur his imagination whilst also providing influence and inspiration in his writing. He got his first taste of published work by being included in the Young Writers collection of poetry in primary school. The most important works that have had an effect on Awais are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and the poetry of Charles Bukowski because of their sense of realism, which he aims to include in his own writing . Likewise his interests in the arts and media, specifically film, television and music, have only further helped him realise and extend on his own thoughts and ideas, which have subsequently been explored in his poetry and short stories. Awais is currently in the final year of his English with Creative Writing degree and hopes to take his passion for writing a step further in the future, whilst also developing and further honing the skills he has learnt in the last couple of years.