Sunday 27 November 2022

The Love of Ordinary


The sunset is snagged for a minute

on the window of the moving car.

It makes me glad - that we are in it

circling sun and island as we are.


Ordinary things make me happy -

the sounds at the pump as you refuel,

the curve of road, the strength of coffee,

minute grass flowers strewn like small jewels.


The ancient trees that make the forest,

the curve of the moon that makes the tide,

this poem written in the smallest,

quietest words with you at my side. 



This one's dedicated to the Hilaire Belloc poetry fan, who will deign to read no others. Which means I can write whatever I please, that's got to be good. And all rather ordinary. :) 

And here is another bit of ordinary and boring...

Monday 21 November 2022

The Love Song of an Un-Prufrock



If I had, like a cat, nine lives – I believe

I’d let my mother’s china be with someone

who’d use it more. I’d eat off banana leaves,

drink more from clay cups in each one rather than

fine, foreign porcelain. I’d use the word foreign

itself a lot less because more things would be

mine to cherish without paying attention

to their provenance, craftsman’s nationality.

In those other lives, I’d smell more books and rain

buy fewer umbrellas and be less afraid,

just squeeze your hand tighter when the thunder came.

I’d look more closely at the dents raindrops make

on the sands. Also at your thumbprints on glass,

leave the smudges. Learn to photograph the grass.

Pleased to report that this whole series is now complete, all nine of them. And I got some others written in the idle-time between them too. A good crop, all in all. 

The birthday always falls around the time my American friends and family celebrate Thanksgiving - and it's always seemed to me a good one to borrow into my own life. This year it feels extra special due to various reasons, not least among them the personal harvest situation going on - written and unwritten, countable and uncountable. Giving thanks for each one of them, every single day. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you in advance if you're observing. And the happiest of weeks to you if you're not. 

Monday 14 November 2022

Easy peasy


Living in a house with umbrellas hasn’t been

something given for the longest time. The rain

comes but rarely in the desert. I’ve only seen

a rainbow there once, though some places do contain

the word within themselves, in their very name -

it feels aspirational – more a hankering.

In the local language it’s simply not the same -

the vowel sound, the suffix, mean quite different things.


I watch it come down, drip from the overhang of

the porch, umbrellas shut and open like moth wings

colours darkened by a shade, bedewed, glistening,

and climb back into rain compatible living,

the feel of damp laundry, dark, moistened earth. Love

comes easy - for the desert, for the rain falling.

For those who are interested, the project of the celebratory Love Song of the UnPrufrock in nine parts is coming along nicely, seven done, two more to go, so more than halfway there in less than half the month - good progress. I've been dabbling in other love songs in between...

Sunday 6 November 2022

Learning to be more catty


If like a cat, I had nine lives, that is, eight

more to go, I’d choose to be married to you

for seven as the sacred texts indicate

anyway, maybe I’d swap to a man to

see if I liked it in one, and then change back.

For the last, I’d take that round-the-world trip, not

in eighty days though. I’d find a way to pack

the important things. I’d learn to sail a boat,

to grow a tree from seed, to write in blank verse.

I’d waste less days searching for that perfect rhyme,

fill them instead with the words of foremothers.

Read more Bengali poets from scratch this time.

I’d live more deep, look more closely at the dew.

Leave more space for wonder. Leave more space for you.

November happens to be a month of personal celebrations of various kinds. This week,  I'm celebrating through the writing of a series of nine sonnets, here is the first of them. A celebration and a thanksgiving for the guy who's stuck around staunchly for more than half my life...despite the shortage of elbow room...