Everything doesn't please me, but some things do.
Granted, the station's lost its coordinates,
the road is a conceit of dirt, and yet -
it pleases me the old bus contains you.
You draw a single, quivery thread of pain
from my blood – weave a tree canopy
overhead; the pride of a flag flying free
from the direction of winds; a quatrain
that's also an anthem of olives, a dirge
for the lemon leaves, for fallen lintels,
ruined doorsteps. You shatter walls of cells
into a lilac leap where stars and hope merge.
Even though the old bus sputters and stops,
then dies. And the station's a long way off.
Last time I looked you were a tiny dot,
the bus-stop receding in the rear-view
and then vanishing, like things always do.
But I'd marked, and caressed the exact spot
in the dusty mirror where you had stood.
And it was more than enough to drive on.
But then a passenger screamed. A cell phone
squawked, and all canopies turned to deadwood.
The mirror's empty now, the bus is a wreck,
no station or stop, the horizon's bare -
breathe deep, breathe deep, but there's just no more air!
The flag's an ache because the shape of a speck
in glass will never again be seen, nor heard -
how will this longing ever be measured?
This is a response to "Nothing pleases me" by Mahmoud Darwish (13.03.1941 - 09.08.2008). The second death is Tagore's (07.05.1861-07.08.1941). Both are poets I deeply revere. Both became, in their lifetimes, the voice of their peoples' struggles against foreign powers/occupation. Both shaped identities, both, when they died, convulsed their nation/peoples, both transformed the prevailing literary landscapes, and both died in August. The aftermath of one death I have witnessed personally, and the other I have heard about from my family/community.
The diptych above was written as part of a MOOC I took last year and forgot about till now. My homage to both poets with it.
I am finally back to blogging on a regular lappie instead of pebble-sized screens where 'nothing pleases me' in terms of the font size, if you know what I mean. Squint till cross eyed and then manage to decipher half a word, no, I think not, thanks very much. Sticking to the bigger and less sleek devices. I have a pile of posts and emails to catch up on which will happen over the next week as I settle back into my old mouse potato mode...
Click on the links and read about the antho contest that'll run from Sept 5 to Nov 4, and the WEP Aug Challenge open right now - join us and sign up, because ooh, the fun is getting thicker!