Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hiraeth



Credit



I still know how to draw those maps, boundaries
of vanished places, craving deep-rooted trees
whistling out of sight now, the slight lift of dust
feathered into a storm, fleshed to grey and rust,
the north winds in the long grass at different degrees.


Rinse. Repeat. Repetition doesn’t change things,
nor needle-sharp new words, seed no new meanings;
the landforms, the contours, the topography
still the same, guinea corn grits crumbing my knee,
an empty clothes line bejewelled with starlings.


The world thrashes, then falls back into its groove,
only a tidal murmur persists, out to prove
every line washes away, but then the sands
reconfigure into the same coasts, same lands
without the pen or my hands having to move.






Hiraeth is actually a Welsh word, I've no idea how the Welsh got so Bengali!! Or how this Bengali got so Welsh without ever setting a foot in Wales?! :) 

It means a hard to pin down homesickness/nostalgia for times and places and homelands lost.  I have been craving me some Africa this week, well, a spike in the hiraeth really, because who, having lived there once, doesn't crave Africa all the time, right? The grandmotherland of us all and the silver lining of whole lifetimes.

It's been an eventful November so far, both the outer world and inner thrashed, but now back into the groove hopefully, running smooth and low key.  Hope yours is running smooth too, at the exact key you want.









16 comments:

  1. I hope things are running smoothly for you, too. Sounds like your November was a bit rough.

    Just posted Part Four of a four-parter on my blog. Please check it out when you have a chance. I'd appreciate your opinion.

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    1. Just back from yours. November has been a weird sort of month...so far so strange.

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  2. I love this poem and for me this time of year, I wish to be back in PA with old family and friends. And yet things are never quite the same. It has been a very strange year, and yet the world keeps spinning and the wheels stay on the track. Thanks for the new word to add to my vocabulary - hiraeth sums up a lot

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    1. Things are never the same, absolutely! My year went quite well till Sept, and then kind of had a meltdown :) but fingers crossed all recovered now.

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  3. Lovely, homesick for the good old days. Was there really such a thing or do our memories filter out the horror and struggles so we can forego the stress for a smile or two. I'll take a smile or two anytime! New word for me too - love it!
    Wishing you all happiness!

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    1. Of course we filter out the nasties, memory is always selective. If one looks back rationally, nothing is ever all good. But better to cherry pick the smiles any day, don't want any more stress than absolutely necessary :)

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  4. I thought I used to get homesick but the only thing really I miss are the people from the places I've been. I hope the coming month will be filled with the cheer that's been missing this month. Take good care and thank you for the lovely poem.

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    1. Yeah, wish there was some way to fold them up and carry them along too :) have a great week and an even better month ahead.

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  5. Such a moving piece. All that was, calling me back.
    Hope the days ahead bring you some joy

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    1. Thank you, they undoubtedly will. It's not even a calling 'back' over here, because whatever was is trudging right alongside :) Glad you liked the poetry. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. Hi Nila - such a fascinating post ... "Hiraeth" - a Welsh word to remember ... I feel for Cornwall (though I'm not Cornish ... but we've been around all our lives) and then South Africa and southern Africa ... as you say - you can't not want to be there.

    I've had a tricky year, which has not improved ... but I'm laughing through - the only thing to do .. and will deal with things as they happen ... keeping the Danish word Hygge up front ...

    So glad things are improving for you .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary, hygge is such a cool word! wishing you lots of it and also that your year improves exponentially and soon!

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  7. Hi Nila! November has been such a hectic month for many of us and I'm glad we've come through unscathed. Love this concept, this Hiraeth, which you've so beautifully expressed.
    'The world thrashes, then falls back into its groove...' Let's hope it can find it's way back...:-)

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    1. Hi Denise! I am confident it will :) the world is not so easily shaken off, or for that matter shaken out of it course methinks ;-)
      So glad we've come through unscathed...and I hope those who didn't, heal soonest...

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  8. Good prose and awesome lines. Conveys thoughts beautifully.

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    1. Thank you. Coming from a professional that means a lot to me.

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