Monday 25 May 2015


Officer, scrutinise
my papers and date of birth
with half-truths and unkind eyes.
Pinpoint if you can
where this life began
where it weaved into earth
and casually out again
honestly in precise
circumstances and coordinates.
You’ll soon understand dates
and stamps on a watermarked page
leave the bulk untold
whichever may be the language
used to slice lives open
behind bullet-proof, cubby-holed
existence across the ocean.

The papers tell a third,
and a quarter resides
in pot-bellied stereotypes
of breeding and birth
in the loose ends of clichés
that drown you in their drifts.
Your judgment hits and misses
my several lives and trips -
how will you fathom the words?
the depth of my betel-stained tongues,
that once spoke Hebrew and Arabic,
the songs they hummed and sung -
ancient lullabies in Farsi
and marching melodies in Hausa,
climbed whole mountains in Prakrit
washed in sacred streams of Babylon,

wrote love letters in Egypt
in choreographed hieroglyphs
and staccato flocks of cuneiform
under the arches of Hattusa;
wept lilting tears of Latin
at the final fall of Rome.
How exactly will you fathom?
the yearnings of a pilgrim
and those of wounded warriors
engaged far from home?
where would you grant me asylum
in the arms of which language?
and which ruby-lipped metaphor
will you use for your refusal?
You will never find out for sure
where I am coming from.


  1. That is well said. Official papers don't reveal us, the life we have led does.

    1. True for ordinary people...but officialdom is not interested sadly...neither in the papers, nor in the lives. Thanks for being here.

  2. So apt, Nila. Right up to the minute with the seas swirling with people with no home, no state, and often, no hope.

    I had a couple of unsuccessful attempts to comment on Perfume from my iPhone. I was impressed with the poet in the comments so last night I penned a poem in my head, dedicated to you. Today is a good time to share my humble, stumble...

    Your pen, dipped in wisdom
    Spreads truth
    Oceans, seas, mountains, forests
    Nothing can stop
    The words
    The truth
    Your pen.

    Denise :-)

    1. Whoa, Denise! Looove the poetic comments!!!...yours and the others... :~)

      hmmm...maybe there should be a post here inviting comments in verse?!

      It feels like both land and sea are seething with the homeless and hopeless right now...

      Thanks for the heads-up on the glitches re posting comments, a couple others said that too last week...not sure what is was...don't think it was due to your device.

      You should write more poetry, seriously.

    2. Thanks Nila. I came back to see what you thought. There's another snappy poet, Pat Hatt, who often gets poetic comments too. They are always funny. Now that desk49 has started the trend here, perhaps others will take it up. I hope so.

      Thanks for your kind comments regarding my sketchy little header. I really want to do a major overhaul of my blog, so I think I might ask some of my students, one in particular, who is a computer whizz, to give me a hand with the HTML which always scares me!

      Have a great week, unlike those who are floating on the seas. Times like these I hate my country!!

      Denise :-)

    3. I know Pat Hatt from the time I spent in dVerse during the first flush of the blog.

      The overhaul is looking mighty smart! The HTML bit scares me silly too :)

  3. seems like a journey is on the cards.

    1. um, for the person, no, not at the moment...I wish! horribly hot where I am! But for the poet - no end to the journeys..

  4. Loved reading the poem. Too illiterate to comment. Journey is not on the cards.journey is already on, on for a pretty long time and likely to continue indefinitely. Journey has no language.

    1. no-one is illiterate, everyone is on his own trajectory somewhere on the continuum...Hindu philosophical thought is completely based on cyclical nature of the beginnings and no ends..

  5. One of your best I have read. Beautiful phrasing and language punctuates a great message without being a rant.
    Well done!

    1. Thank you. Don't like doing my rants in poetry, straight narration fits those better :~)

  6. Who cares where life
    Starts or ends
    Still we must fit it
    Between lines drawn
    by others
    leaving out the parts
    that gives us a soul
    cowardly conforming
    to what they say

    1. True that. Thanks for stopping here, and for the poems.

  7. Making my way around on the A to Z Road trip! Stopping by to say hello and I hope to see you again next year, if not sooner!


    1. Hello there and have a great trip! Hope to catch up much before the next A-Z...thanks for the visit!

  8. That was pretty intense. You've got talent. Wonderful poem.

    * * *

    Jolie is stopping by from the Post A-to-Z Road Trip!!

    Precious Monsters

    The Layneworth Monsters

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Have fun the rest of the trip.