Sunday, 17 January 2021



Original image by Herz Albanki

The land recedes. The earth’s mostly water.

Non-potable. Saline. Right now - serene.

So are humans - mostly made of liquid,

bubbles of fluid enclosed in a skin -

takes some time to figure what waters mean.

All lands recede. Winter days are shorter.

And the pandemic has emptied them clean.

A single parasol stands out vivid,

the boat’s moored, but ready to loosen,

to draw away through the ultramarine,

draw to the dock. Maybe less off the grid.

But home, when it gets there, feels too foreign -  

the streetscapes changed, the city lights too lurid.

Takes time to see what home and moorings mean.

I visited a (socially distant) photography exhibition recently, where three Bahraini photographer-artists were exhibiting their work - a great way to start off 2021, though now it seems to have lapsed back into 2020 mode again. Anyways. 

This image by Herz Albanki, a well known photographer-artist who exhibits regularly in Bahrain and internationally, prodded the above verse. Herz has been my art partner for the BWC annual exhibition Confluence all through, I've been majorly privileged to work with his images as prompts for my poetry there. His work always inspires, there is a 'certain slant of light' to his photography that just makes the words pour out! He showcases the land and seascapes of Bahrain, its working population, its flora and fauna in all their profound ordinariness and diverse magnificence. This particular artwork is called 'Jarada Island.' Bahrain is an archipelago of mostly natural and a few manmade islands. Isn't the planet beautiful?


  1. The planet is indeed beautiful.
    If ever I can afford it I would love to live by water (moving or still). I find it an incredible benison and love the work it inspires so many artists (you included) to create.

    1. Yes, I'd love to live close to the water too. It's an unending source of calm and art. Here it is the sea, in India it's the river at the old hometown.

  2. Hari Om
    a drifting of words, flotsom of thought! YAM xx

    1. I like that flotsam of thought bit - poetry is mostly that...

  3. "a certain slant of light", a certain way with words that bob on the ocean of your poetry. I'd say - quite an inspirational team.

  4. That's great you've been able to work with him. And that they got to have an exhibit.

    1. Yes, very fortunate to have worked with him for all three events.

  5. What a beautiful image from a very talented photographer. The exhibition sounds wonderful. The planet is indeed a very beautiful place, sometimes spoilt by the humans who inhabit it. But there's always more good than bad I think to myself. Who knows what 2021 will bring?

    I hope your father is doing as well as can be expected and that you're doing well, Nila.

    1. I so completely agree with the bit about more good than bad! And whatever is bad is rarely irredeemable too. Hope 2021 will bring you and all of us good things galore.
      Thanks for asking after my father. Under moderate control - both him and me. Me probably way less in control than should be :)

  6. Hi Nila - how lovely to be able to work with Herz ... and how special to be able to experience so much more of Bahrain through his eyes and with his local friends. Beautiful light ... and it must be wonderful to be able to see so much nature in and around the archipelago ... all the best - Hilary