Monthly Archives: July 2017

Lament of the Lotus Eaters

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Lotophagi (pronounced lo’ toff-a-ji) is a collection of poems that came together when I was in Bahrain between 1982 and 1993. It never went anywhere. I had/ have around fifty poems that deal with a variety of people and situations that I encountered during that time. The first twenty five poems deal with people, like us, who were rather smitten by Bahrain and these are somewhat longer poems, the second twenty-five are short haiku-length inspired poems that deal with people who came here, couldn’t stand Bahrain and left very quickly, in one case within two weeks!

As with Corpoetry, I just had fun with it and even created some rather bizarre illustrations on the old software called I think, Paintbox, that came with the word-processing software.

Here’s one, and I may post a few more if the feedback is interesting. Some of the poems have already appeared in My Beautiful Bahrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lament of the Lotus Eaters

A deep slumber

A dream remembered

Once upon a time, we lived

Between birth and death

Suspended like a dewdrop

In the dawn.

And all life

Was a desperate clinging to the leaf.

From each breath

Each ray of sunlight

Each wisp of mist

We extracted every molecule of joy.

And now, we wonder why

Struldbrugs

We just wait to die.

Growing old in Shangri-la

Having lost our precious ‘wa’

And yet not lost our equilibrium

We wait

Suspended, lives askew

Between don’ts, won’ts, can’ts, I could, I should

And I do.

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Twig & Leaf

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All I need is a compliment… I posted a fragment from this piece on Facebook and one person’s reaction prompted me to reproduce this dramatic little dialogue that I wrote many moons ago when there were fewer high rise buildings in Bahrain, when our apartment in Muharraq looked out to the sea where dhows lounged on the beach and the causeway to the Diplomatic area was a quiet passageway and the country was asleep by ten at night.

A TWIG AND A LEAF

A bird introduced the story. It twittered: “This is the story of leaf and twig. Of self and self. Which destiny is yours dear listener? Which road to dusty death would you take?”

Twig:   “The wind blows and I move.”

Leaf:   “The breeze breathes and I dance. I quiver with its tiniest breath. Silver. Golden green. The sunlight warms me and I glory in its warmth. The moonlight shimmers on me and I play a dainty game with moonbeams. But you, you are stiff and angular. Your movements are scratchy. Scritching. And scratching. And squeaky.”

Twig:   “Just because I am more firmly set it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the wind or the sun. Or that the silver moonlight does not make dramatic patterns with me. I am strong. And you are weak. Too emotional. Too full of movement. Too light. You dance today. But all too soon that loving sun will make you wilt and you will fall and be crushed.”

Leaf:     “Drop I shall some day. But not before the sun and the wind have caressed me into the most exciting hues of green and yellow and russet, a russet that would rival a sunset. Colours that have made poets sing. What poets have sung of you, Twig?”

Twig:     “No. That is true. No poets sing of me. I am the coarse, unlovely of the world. The bark grows hard around me. It shelters me from the sun and the wind of life. But it constrains me too. Confines the sap that flows within. Warm sap that longs to leaf sometimes. That aches to dance.

And, yet I know that if I were a leaf, I would dread the day when I should fall. Having metamor­phosed from glorious green and yellow on to russet and hectic red. Fall and be crushed. Stamped out. And forgotten. No. I would rather be a twig. And never live or love so much, so close to life that some day I shall, I must be turned to dust, ignominiously…under the foot of some uncaring, unthinking, unloving passerby.”

Leaf: “Perhaps. But twig, dear twig, to love is all. Why should it matter how you leave this world? We must all be crushed and torn some day. So live. Live and love and laugh and dance today!”

Twig:   “No. No. I cannot… And yet, should I? No. I must not. For I support the leaves.”

Spring into summer

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Written some years ago in Vancouver

Mists, grey as monsoon clouds,
Shroud the still snow covered caps
Of mountains in the distance
The park is as green as a henna bush
Displaying a myriad verdant shades
While tulips and rhododendrons run rampant
On its edges
Dancing in sunshine yellow, lipstick red
And muted hues of purple, pink, papaya orange.
I wonder why in all this splendid array
Of a western spring and early summer
My imagery still wanders back
All the way,
From Canada to India.