Tag Archives: verse

Drinker of the Wind

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Some time ago when I was at the ad agency in Bahrain, I worked with some very talented artists and illustrators. One was Linda Strydom – who created the illustrations for Corpoetry and among so many others there was Francis Tiongsen, his brother David Tiongsen who is nothing short of amazing and many others who do so much more than computer graphics. If you check out their portfolios in the links provided you’ll know what I mean.

All that is by the by. Just thought I’d give some friends a plug!

This poem came about because Francis loved horses and at the same time we were doing a brochure for a real estate project created around the theme of horses, in particular the Arab. He’d created some captivating illustrations which then prompted this poem based on an old Bedouin legend.

 

 

 

 

DRINKER OF THE WIND (sharaab alrreh)

He was Erebeh, he was mystery,
The Arab steed that flew
Across the desert sands
Chasing the storm
His hooves thundering a warning
To those who had sinned
He was the first Drinker of the Wind.
His mane was midnight,
His eyes were the stars
The light from his hooves,
Four galaxies that shone from afar.
One look from him, one shake of his head
The other steeds followed wherever he led
He ruled the old dunes,
He ran wild and free
And his sinews were limned
With good honest sweat:
The Drinker of the Wind.
Long was he hunted,
Hard was he sought
And the Bedouin tribes
Over him once had fought
His was a spirit born to be free
A being not to broken, nor ridden was he.
But legends tell us,
One wild winter night
A lone Beddu approached him,
So humble, polite
And our Arab stallion
He pawed the hard dunes
And took unto him a mare
Pale as the moon
Then he left as he came
That dark winter night
Like a vision, a dream,
A mere flicker of light
Never again seen by mere men
For he truly was 
The first Drinker of the Wind.
Some say they saw him
Against the dawn sky
Some say they hear him,
When the wind rumbles by
But the Bedouin know
And their legends declare
The Drinker of the Wind
Can’t be seen anywhere

For he left as he came
On that wild winter night
When the sky was a mantle
As dark as could be
And the wind moved the dune tides
Like waves on the sea.
No moon, not a star
Shone that magical night
When the Drinker of the Wind
Disappeared from all sight
He flew up to the heavens
The night sky took him home
Where, as he was meant to
He still freely roams
The first Drinker of the Wind.

Note: The Arabian Horse – 

And God took a handful of South wind and from it formed a horse, saying: “I create thee, Oh Arabian. To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle. On thy back, I set a rich spoil And a Treasure in thy loins. I establish thee as one of the Glories of the Earth… I give thee flight without wings.”

— Bedouin Legend

(Byford, et al. Origins of the Arabian Breed)

 

Squid

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A poem presented at Colours of Life 2017 – the annual poetry festival of the Bahrain Writers’ Circle.

Now I’m not vegetarian

Nor yet pescetarian

Not even a pure carnivore

I’m an eat-everything-atarian

There’s not much that I don’t adore

When it comes to the fishes

I can devour most dishes

But there is one thing I abhor

 

It’s that strange little creature

With a tentacular feature

It’s name down my throat wouldn’t slid

Although my ol’ teacher

Demanded that I just say ‘squid’

I shuddered, I quaked, I all but flaked

I felt my life, on it was staked

“Oh, please don’t make me!” I pled

 

“Why not squid, you’re so silly,” she said              

“Er…Ummm,” I so wished I were dead

“It’s so slimy, so squiggly, so terribly wriggly.”

“Oh child, it’s just all in your head.”

“No, ‘taint.” I retorted, albeit feebly

And blanched at the thought of the squid

My face on my desk I then hid

While my breath went all wheezy’n’queasy

 

Many years soon sped by

So I thought I should try

To dine on this marine delectation

So….“I’ll have calamari,” said I

With a measure of great trepidation

Along came this dish

Of the offending fish

All battered and fried to damnation

 

But…In spite of the batter

In spite of the crunch

In spite of the fact that I’d have it for lunch

The rubbery squid, it all but did

Me in… as it stuck in my throat

I gasped, I choked, I nearly croaked

And swore once more as I had before

That I’d never again eat squid!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view the live presentation please click here.

Memories

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In search of material from the past one comes across a mood that suddenly finds resonance in the present. It’s not prophetic but it stirs an old emotion and I wrote it when I first knew we were going to Canada. I was apprehensive at the time, not knowing then, what I know now, that I was embarking on one of the best times of my life.

Having said that, I feel that those of us who come to the Middle East, even if we put down roots here, imbibe something from the shifting sands that enters our spirits and stirs a restlessness within us that eventually makes nomads of us all. Where, beneath this great dome of sky, will I eventually pitch that tent that never needs to be unpegged again? I have sand in my toes.

A Farewell

Goodbye people of this clime

It’s time to leave you

My watch is over

The grains of rice

Destined for me, are eaten.

No more grains on these plates

Come with my name written on them.

 

I have drunk deep

Of your waters, and long.

A thirst in my heart

Has been quenched.

And now a gnawing hunger

For other pastures

Feeds at my soul.

 

I must leave

The writ has been sent

Am I manumitted now?

Or do I go to another master

Another slavery?

 

The only freedom I yearn for

Is the final escape from life

When I will hunger no more,

Nor thirst.

 

I see your trees your wastelands

Your messy beaches, your prim hotels

I know your petty interests

Your magnanimous natures

I’ve grown to love them all

And I’ve grown to love them well.

 

But I must leave now

For I can hear the sirens calling

Midnight beckons

With its own sweet, soft music

Which I must follow

Towards the harsh light

The unforgiving break of day.

Corporate Dance

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It happens in every office. You notice it especially when the first half of the year draws closer to its end. The little dance. The schmooze sessions. The “let’s do lunch!”

These little scenes prompted a poem called Corporate Dance in my collection Corpoetry. See how the ‘chaps’ fall in step with the boss. Watch the ladies sashay along. They’re so in sync that it’s like a choreographed performance. Not Bollywood dancing. This is more subtle. Like a tango. The challenge. The turn your face the other way, but exchange a look. It has all the verve of old-fashioned ballroom dancing and a lot of very clever footwork – both literal and metaphorical.

Putting together the collection of poems that grew into  Corpoetry was so much fun. Once the poems began to flow I couldn’t turn a corner in the offices that I worked in when I didn’t find yet another situation that prompted a poem. Sometimes reading the news – especially during that financial crisis – brought on a poem like Big Cheeses which prompted Bob Cubitt’s wonderful review. I still keep thinking that if you, as a reader, have a situation, do please send it to me and I’ll create a poem for you. Who knows, we might end up with Corpoetry Two!

corp dance

 

The Sandwich Thief

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Yesterday I read a post on Facebook (someone else’s post) that I then placed on my FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/RohiniSunderamAuthor

The post is an amusing account of two colleagues and a spat they have over a turkey & rye sandwich. I mentioned that it reminded me of some of the poems in Corpoetry, like The Water Cooler. One friend said she’d like to see what I’d make of that situation in a poem.

And so, here it is!

‘Twas in an office, I heard tell

Of a prankster ne’er do well

He stole, it seems, a colleague’s lunch

And the outcome was a bunch

Of laughs for folk like me and you

But from the posts, it seems ‘twas true

And this is how it went:

 

“Oh sandwich thief, I know you keep

Stealing my sandwiches, why oh why?

The latest one’s turkey on rye.

Grow up you thief, you sandwich thief!”

 

The thief replied, “dear Turkey ’n’ Rye

I have it here, I do not lie,

Ten bucks is all that it will take

To get it back upon a plate.”

 

The victim lashed back with a threat:

“Return my sandwich, thief, or else!

To HR I shall take my ‘plaint

And then let’s see how you will faint!”

 

The Sandwich Thief, did threaten back

“Alas, my dear, alas, alack!

For every hour that you delay

Bite by bite, I’ll eat it away.”

 

Threats then turned to psycho chat

“Why oh why are you doing this?”

The sandwich ‘napper, not remiss

“Tick-Tock” he sent a photo back.

 

But in an office, as we know

Don’t push your luck for it can go

As in this case, to HR’s top

And HR weighed in with a ‘Stop!

 

“Cease! Desist! Return the food

And we’ll not take this any further”

But sandwich ‘napper he’s a boob

Demands a pizza, silly joker.

 

Next he adds an insult in

Threatens not to eat but chew

And then in little mouthfuls spew

The sandwich in a bin!

 

“You’re the worst” our Victim sighs

“I’m not” Our Sandwich Thief replies

And in eloquent prose outlines

The corporation’s ills and its demise.

 

Now, thanks to IT and what not

HR tracked down the wicked sot

“Francis!” they name and shame the chap

“Come and see us, now ASAP!”

 

Now Sandwich Thief, he ain’t so bold

(In fact it almost makes one sicken)

“Please don’t fire me,” he folds!

The turkey made him chicken.

 

 

Testing the water

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Three poems by Aman

#1

Uncertainty unbound

The walls made of bricks

Hold no solace,

The hum I recall is gone!

 

I move to the unknown,

Yearning for the song

Which perhaps may be my own

 

A long wait it’s been

To hear the sound

That beckons

To the far horizon

 

And should the note ring true

Will I really reach that elusive hue?

 

#2

To yearn for a grand morrow

to have striven for the ray of thought

only to realise you’re happiest with your lot.

 

Know your need, not the want, ‎the path reaps the price,

Alas only the old now realise.

 

Even the “great” in death strive to tell us,

we depart empty handed‎ the way “He” had made us.

 

‘Tis just me, young in body tho’ old in mind‎,

How fortunate, I understand, there is yet time.‎

 #3

The words that you see; mean not what they say.  The path that we follow will lead us astray. A pinnacle we reach, clawing our way through a shroud, all we achieve is a modicum of doubt. Let not the rational lead you otherwise, the path turns to thorns, in our twilight we realise. Break out break through for you and your own; like Charles did eons ago unknown. We build but to no avail; our bones will turn to dust no matter o’er whom we prevail.

 

Corpoetry gets another 5 star review!

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When I first wrote Corporate Laughter, the first poem of what eventually grew into the collection I have titled Corpoetry, I had no idea that it would garner the kind of reviews that David Hollywood and now Robert Cubitt have given it!

Robert’s review is so refreshing – it’s frank and in-depth and by a complete stranger. When I sent Corpoetry to him for a review, Robert wrote back to me and said, “If I can’t give it a favourable review, I won’t review it at all.” Blunt. But I like blunt.

Phrases from his review that really thrust home for me include:
“The poems are short, use nice simple metaphors and analogies, but get to the very heart of the subject like a scalpel cutting into flesh.”

And of course, as any writer I was and I am, really delighted with:
“When I was asked to review this book the idea didn’t fill me with joy, but I love a challenge and I thought it might be challenging to have to find something positive to say about yet more poetry, but I needn’t have worried. There’s plenty of positive things to say about this collection and I’m more than happy to say them.”

The link provided above will take you directly to Robert’s review. He’s got some great “writer-worthy” material on it!

Thank you Robert!
Corpoetry is available here:
http://www.ex-l-ence.com/Corpoetry.php
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A 50-word story

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I was thrilled when I learnt that my 50-word story, based on a poem I’d written, has been selected as the winner in a competition on Oapschat.

It is based on a real event that took place in the souk several months ago. First it was a poem, then it became a pithy story. Believe me, writing flash fiction – of any length – is quite a demanding exercise.

I’d love to feature anyone else’s 50-word stories here, do share. Sorry no prizes but if, in my opinion, your story merits it, I shall feature it here.

If you don’t want to follow the link here’s the winning story:

You know Kite Runner?”

The Afghani salesman asked.

“Yes,” I ignored him, “How much?” indicating amethyst earrings.

He opened his lacerated hands.

Ashamed, I looked at him. “I loved the book.”

His hand on his heart, “I have more stories will you write them?”

“A thousand times.”

“Tashakor,” He smiled.

Over to you…

 

And here I am, holding my prize: “My Gentle War” by Joy Lennick the judge at Oapschat the publication that ran the competition.

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The Storm – a new poem on Rupali’s Page

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Drum Roll…

Trumpet flourish…

We have another rhythmic, lyrical poem from Rupali…

The Storm

The night was dark

The wind did howl

The streets were empty

The tramps didn’t prowl…

See the rest on Rupali’s Page

Panchatantra – The Monkey & The Wedge

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This story told in rhyme is a continuation of the first book of the Panchatantra, which as we know, consists of five books – Mitra-bhed: The Loss of Friends; Mitra-lābha or Mitra-samprāpti: The Gaining of Friends; Kākolūkīyam: War and Peace; Labdhapraṇāśam: Loss Of Gains; Aparīkṣitakārakaṃ: Ill-Considered Action / Rash deeds. The Monkey & The Wedge is the second of the stories contained within “Mitra-Bhed”.

The Monkey & The Wedge

So Dama-nak-a heard from Kara-tak

The story of the monkey and the wedge

How a merchant once began to build up

A temple of wood at his garden’s edge

Read the rest of this entry