Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Inspired, and also a little scared, birthday wishes

Sometime back I had posted a poem by Irene Rutherford on my fb wall – “Is Love then, so simple”. Here it is again.  I could read it a million times and not get enough! Its brevity and punch are just amazing.  Irene would have been right at home in today’s twitter world I think, and I don’t mean that in any frivolous way, only this poem was published 1920.  Anyways, it generated a lot of likes as is obvious it should, my father read it and commented that he should like to see something as profoundly simple and powerful as this someday, with my name written on it.  Scary! but I wanted to give it a shot.

This week is my father’s birthday, his 80th and 20th simultaneously.  This is for you, Baba.  My rejoinder to Irene.  As simple and honest as I can be.  Happy birthday!

Must it always be so clear
What love is, and isn't?
Understanding get so sheer
That it can be envisioned.

The more I've loved, the more I've lost
The will to define things.
For you - clear vistas crossed.
For me, the indistinct.

As I sit still, and it gets less -
My share of eternity -
The more I feel it's hard to guess
What love has meant to me.

And since I am on some kind of bare-all spree here in this post, I might as well record that end of January is my parent's wedding anniversary. And end-Feb is my father's birthday, so February has always been my very own personal month to celebrate and reflect on love in its myriad forms, Valentine or no.  Or should I say, reflect and celebrate a little more intensely, because really, there are eleven more months to think about and celebrate it.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Nowhere


There is no place where it’s just you and me
Nowhere where a trail of triviality doesn’t crowd
Us out of our conjoint selves, split into tawdry
Companies of millions.  Nowhere is it allowed


That I should draw the cloak of your stillness
About my shoulders, drop the thin wispy wrap
Of noiseless raging chaos that always surrounds us.
That I should leave my hands idle in your lap.



The frenzied skipping of  gold sunlight on silver
The mad rush of the storm whipping up sands
Mimics the mindless movements of my fingers
Mimics my mindless minds and mindless hands.


No place where it’s just me and you, my quiet nails
Fallen like moonlit leaves on your skin, their curve
Gentle, the veins obscured and fuzzy, no details
Getting past the swell of their slight, flushed reserve.


The endless chatter of birds stepping up to a crescendo.
Reflections of ropes and rigging quivering up into the skies
The swish of lanes into old cars, the swinging innuendo
In tail lights blinking on and off against the rise


Of polished tarmac, the sheen of animal print rosettes
Screaming dark within a low slung evening cloud.
No place where I can curl into you and forget
A hundred shreds of interruptions.   Raucous and loud.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine: More than I care to admit

It so turned out that love wasn’t a uniform rainbow
Arched the same thickness over lands and oceans.
That was hard enough, but even harder to let go
The stereotypes of rigid, unbending notions.
It was difficult to find its ultra-violet edges
The infra-red loving, all that’s invisible.
No smooth spectrum here, disjointed waves and wedges
And way out of earshot, just one whispered decibel.



It turned out that love wasn’t a rushing river
Trilling down the mountainside with its chant
Of what goes on, or doesn’t go on, forever.
It chose to dry up sometimes, nonchalant.
It was a shock at first, but more of a surprise
That even dehydrated it can hum a tune.
That it sings somehow, even though it dries,
Or suddenly stops into a lake or lagoon.



I’ve loved you more than I’ve cared to admit
Too much loving is also a character flaw.
It’s all about moving and rapid transit
To love one world and then quickly withdraw
Little to do with ultra-violet and infra-red
Banded into one single width of a rainbow
And listening for songs in a dried-up riverbed
And waiting for stagnant lake-waters to flow.



And I have loved you more than I’d like to write
In careful poems counting out the syllables
On parchment pages held up against dispersed light
Read low in whispers of uncertain decibels.
I have loved you in this arid desert dawn
And seen the entire possible serrated bandwidth
Without a drop of moisture. And where the sun has shone
Down on the dry river bed from its zenith.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Accented


Did you check out the harsh flaws in my accent,
And bring yourself to touch my different skin?
Were you dying to tell me whether it was meant?
That I should stand out here, or blend in.


Did you want to twist my tongue off at its root?
Because it spoke a different vowel sound
And turn down my voice.  Completely mute
The volume of dreams, both frivolous and profound.


Did you long to rip up my words? Break the spine
That held them together at the page’s edge
Erase everything that had come to be called mine
Simply because I spoke a different language?


The planet is my country: I shall not want
For voices and tongues. Or dreams that haunt.