Monday 22 January 2024

Always one coming



There’s a war coming over the mountains

snaking past the bridges into the township.

Always a war coming, always a countdown,

the whispers in the streets and insider tips.


Over bare mountains and over those mauve hills,

over the silver line of the horizon,

there’s always a war coming, guns and missiles

smoke out and rip open the lives of children.


Under the green grass and under the olives,

under the ribbons of blue waves and white foam,

there’s always a war coming where you now live

and a nose for the profits in shells and bombs.


I can’t sing you to sleep with soft lullabies

and tell you it’s fireworks that redden your skies.

What can I say? 

Life feels like a never ending battle sometimes. Death and taxes. Eye ailments, blood profiles, extreme weather, time zone management issues, terrible traffic, light and noise pollution, the waxing and waning shenanigans of the political classes, the lack of me-time, no time to write, etc, etc, etc. 

Then I look at what's happening out there in the wider world and my troubles seem to have a pretty low melting point.

Have a peaceful week. 

Sunday 14 January 2024



Photo by Heike Mintel on Unsplash

Have I wasted my time? Most of the visit

I spent in watching you sleep. The slow curve

of lashes on cheek. That’s the last habit

to wean off, the first rite mothers observe.

The easy rise and fall of the blankets

tuned to the rhythms of your resting breath,

and I listened for it as I sat and read

as if to listen is to ward off death.


I’ve checked on you a million times, my child

as an infant new born then suddenly grown.

In a moonbright night I come awake still

and listen...before I recall I’m alone,


only the wind stirs the trees, an austere

pair of stars blink, as though to blink back tears.

Hello, I'm back from the other end of the world! 

Shameless  poetic licence taken above, because well, I'm quite clear that no part of the visit was wasted. I've had a fantastic time, thanks to my hosts - friends and family, in all the places I've been to in the last month. Travelling during Christmas and New Year meant getting to see the American cities lit up and at their sparkling best. The weather remained graciously mild, a spattering of rain here and there, that's all. Though all that changed just as I flew out, the US weather reports are scary now - bitterly cold and likely to continue through next week. Stay safe and warm, folks out there!

It's not that I haven't watched my sleeping child - all parents do. That's nature's way of making sure the parents are doing their job. Even after the job is technically over. Watching a child sleeping is never a waste of time. Nothing is ever wasted or lost anyway, just transformed. That's actually a physical law. It's also a verse in the Bhagavad Gita.  

This year has begun well - in the company of my son, my childhood friends and my extended family. But I know it will be mixed, like all the others. A lot of uncertainties, transitions, anxieties are waiting to happen. However, an equal amount of learning, loveliness, kindness and fun are also waiting to be experienced. I just have to look hard enough, be mindful and not be so overwhelmed by the daily stresses as to miss the chances for laughter and learning. So that's the non-resolution for 2024, that is what I'm going to do - keep eyes peeled for the chances and make sure nothing is wasted, not a drop.