Iftikhar Latif is a local poet, who has written a poem inspired by lockdown last summer. As the winter months take hold and people look for some positivity in the current climate, he has chosen to share his work which he hopes will ‘be something nice to think about, especially as we enter January’.
As the eldest son of Bangladeshi immigrants, Iftikhar grew up on Lanfranc Estate in Mile End. Since graduating from Oxford university in 2014, the young poet has been writing his own poetry and performing in the bars and cafes of east London’s vibrant poetry scene.
Nostalgia, isolation and identity, combined with a sharp wit, feature heavily in Iftikhar’s poetry. The poem he wrote, entitled ‘at least the weather’s good’, touches upon these themes. The reader is induced into an almost dream-like state as the poet shares a thoughtful look back upon one of the summer of 2020’s glorious, yet incongruous sunsets.
‘It was inspired by a day in summer last year. It was strange, as the year was quite sad and yet the weather did not reflect it,’ recalls Iftikhar. ‘I remember hanging out in Victoria Park during a day where the sky turned pink as we approached sunset’.
The poem goes:
‘at least the weather’s good
bright light in otherwise dark times
pale pink like my t shirt
you’re making the grass blush
filling in the cracks in the pavement
accentuated with wispy blue clouds
you’ve brought crowds out in numbers
we’re all supposed to be in houses
roman road’s gardens can’t contain their excitement’
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy reading about local photographer Rehan Jamil, about growing up in a rapidly changing East End.
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