Verse

Beauty – (for dverse)

Beauty

is an

airplane

in raindrops of time

Eyes that bewitch, dreamcatcher eyes with multicoloured stories inside

gina

A flower of a smile reaching deep

A memory of  fish and chips trees wrapped in newspaper leaves 

The curves in the sand dunes

the waves when you bathe

And your coffee on my lips, when you walk away again

For beauty is the sky, the goodbye, the flame in a story we let melt.

¤
¤
¤
¤
¤
¤

Standard
Haibun

dVerse – Five Minutes

You know that moment.

You’re in Iceland. Its July. You’re flying to the States from Europe, stopping at Reykjavík, Iceland. Its snowing. You wander into the airport, and order a Polar Bear beer at the bar, and ask the beguilingly beautiful barmaid what she does in Iceland.

“I try to leave,” she says.

“I see,” you manage.

She smiles.

You glance at her, and see her eyes briefly sparkled in that smile.

Then you remember you are travelling, on a journey, and now is not the time for standing and smiling, for journeys and meetings are magical, and neither must slip from us due to our inattention, our indecision, or desire to stay rooted where we are and not take an undiscovered path to our dreams.

“What would make you leave?” you ask.

“Someone like you asking me to,” she answers.

You hesitate. Fatally, for a full five minutes. The moment starts to slide. She asks your name, and tells you hers. You look outside at the plane on the tarmac in the July snow.

“You got your toothbrush?” you smile, finding the right words at last.

“It will take me only a short time to get it!” she says. She has given keys to her colleague, and smiles one last time, and walks quickly to the car park.

Twelve years later she tells you she did come back, just five minutes after you had boarded again. In the half hour she is gone, with the air stewardess telling you for the third time you had to board, you begin to think she had realised what she was doing and changed her mind.

I boarded the plane, July snowflakes drifting about me as I climbed the steps, the air stewardess holding the door.

“I wrote this song for you,” she told me, twelve years later, when I sat in the front row.

a magic meeting
on a journey
her voice melts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participate in a weekly haibun challenge! Click here – http://www.gunns-cabinfever.pw/l298go-ha298bun#.U4eVCHKSzaU

Standard
Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem 2nd Ghost-Writer Week, Jen’s Tanaga

Jen at Blog It Or Lose It has introduced us to a new form, the Tanaga. Jen says that:

“Some sources call the Tanaga a “Filipino Haiku”, but that isn’t quite accurate.  Like an English haiku, the Tanaga counts syllables.  Unlike the haiku, the pattern is four lines of 7 syllables each (7-7-7-7).

The biggest difference is that the Tanaga rhymes; it has a pattern of AABB.  In addition, ancient Tanagas were handed down through oral history and contain advice.”

In addition to Tanaga, she provided a thought-inspiring tale. I shall have to do the same, and provide you here a retold, by me, tale of the Diving Woman of Oiso Bay, Japan!

A certain knight by the name of Takadai Jiro became ill in the town of Kamakura, where he had been on duty, and was advised to spend the hot month of August at Oiso, to give himself perfect rest, peace, and quietness.

Having obtained permission to do this, Takadai Jiro lost settled himself down in a small inn which faced the sea. As soon as he had secured his room he threw off his clothes and went down to bathe. Takadai was a good swimmer, and plunged into the sea without fear, going out for nearly half-a-mile. There, however, misfortune overtook him. He was seized with a violent cramp and began to sink. A fishing-boat sculled by a man with his diving-girl daughter happened to see him and went to the rescue.

The girl jumped overboard and swam to the spot where he had disappeared, and, having dived deep, brought him to the surface, holding him there until the boat came up, when by the united efforts of herself and her father Takadai was hauled on board.

Before they had reached the shore, Takadai saw that his saviour was a beautiful ama (diving-girl). Such beauty he had never seen. Takadai was in love with his brave saviour before the boat had grounded on the pebbly beach. Determined in some way to repay the kindness he had received, Takadai helped to haul their boat up the steep beach and then to carry their fish and nets to their little thatched cottage, where he thanked the girl for her noble and gallant act in saving him, and congratulated her father on the possession of such a daughter. Having done this, he returned to his inn.

From that time on the soul of Takadai knew no peace. Love of the maddest kind was on him. There was no sleep for him at night, for he saw nothing but the face of the beautiful diving-girl, whose name (he had ascertained) was Kinu. Try as he might, he could not for a moment put her out of his mind. In the daytime it was worse, for O Kinu was not to be seen, being out at sea with her father, diving for the haliotis shell and others; and it was generally the dusk of evening before she returned, and then, in the dim light, he could not see her.

At last his love grew so great that he could endure it no longer. He felt that at all events it would be a relief to declare it. So he took his most confidential servant into the secret, and despatched him with a letter to the fisherman’s cottage. O Kinu San did not even write an answer, but told the old servant to thank his master in her behalf for his letter and his proposal of marriage. ‘Tell him also,’ said she, ‘that no good could come of a union between one of so high a birth as he and one so lowly as I.

 ‘I will wait a day or two,’ thought Takadai. ‘Now that Kinu knows of my love, she may think of me, and so become anxious to see me. I will keep out of the way. Perhaps then she will be as anxious to see me as I am to see her.’

Takadai kept to his own room for the next three days, believing in his heart that O Kinu must be pining for him. On the evening of the fourth day he wrote another letter to O Kinu, more full of love than the first, despatched his old servant, and waited patiently for the answer.

When O Kinu was handed the letter she laughed and said: ‘Truly, old man, you appear to me very funny, bringing me letters. This is the second in four days, and never until four days ago have I had a letter addressed to me in my life. It is difficult for me to understand. If you gave my message to your master correctly he could not fail to know that I could not marry him. His position in life is far too high. Is your master quite right in his head?’

‘Yes: except for the love of you, my young master is quite right in his head; but since he has seen you he talks and thinks of nothing but you, until even I have got quite tired of it, and earnestly pray to Kwannon daily that the weather may get cool, so that we may return to our duties at Kamakura. For three full days have I had to sit in the inn listening to my young master’s poems about your beauty and his love. Oh, do marry him, so that we shall all be happy and go out fishing every day and waste no more of this unusual holiday.’

‘You are a selfish old man,’ answered O Kinu. ‘Would you that I married to satisfy your master’s love and your desire for fishing? I have told you to tell your master that I will not marry him, because we could not, in our different ranks of life, become happy. Go and repeat that answer.’

Poor Takadai! This time he was distressed, for the girl had even refused to meet him. What was he to do? He wrote one more imploring letter, and also spoke to O Kinu’s father; but the father said, ‘Sir, my daughter is all I have to love in the world: I cannot influence her in such a thing as her love. Moreover, all our diving-girls are strong in mind as well as in body, for constant danger strengthens their nerves: they are not like the weak farmers’ girls.

Takadai’s heart was broken. There was nothing more that he could say and nothing more that he could do. Bowing low, he left the fisherman and retired forthwith to his room in the inn, much to the consternation of his servant. Takadai that evening wrote a last note to Kinu, and as soon as the villagers of Oiso were asleep he arose and went to the cottage, slipping the note under the door. Then he went to the beach, and, after tying a large stone to a rope and to his neck, he got into a boat and rowed himself about a hundred yards from shore, where he took the stone in his arms and jumped overboard.

Next morning O Kinu was shocked to read in the note that Jiro Takadai was to kill himself for love of her. She rushed down to the beach, but could see only an empty fishing-boat some three or four hundred yards from shore, to which she swam. There she found Takadai’s tobacco box and his juro (medicine box).  She began to dive, and was not long before she found the body, which she brought to the surface, after some trouble on account of the weight of the stone which the arms rigidly grasped. O Kinu took the body back to shore, where she found Takadai’s old servant wringing his hands in grief.

The body was taken back to Kamakura, where it was buried. O Kinu was sufficiently touched to vow that she would never marry any one. True, she had not loved Takadai; but he had loved, and had died for her. If she married, his spirit would not rest in peace.

No sooner had O Kinu mentally undertaken this generous course than a strange thing came to pass.

Sea-gulls, which were especially uncommon in Oiso Bay, began to swarm into it; they settled over the exact spot where Takadai had drowned himself. Fishermen thought it extraordinary; but Kinu knew well enough that the spirit of Takadai must have passed into the gulls, and for it she prayed regularly at the temple, and out of her small savings built a little tomb sacred to the memory of Takadai Jiro.

Kinu died by drowning in a severe typhoon some nine years later than Takadai; and from that day the sea-gulls disappeared.

the way to a woman’s heart
is not the flight of a dart
but more of a labyrinth
of completely unknown length

Standard
Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haiku, Photographing

Ye gods, what a difficult prompt, that others will as usual take in their stride! I saw some beautiful haiku in yesterday’s prompt, here (Maniparna), here (Gillena) and here (Celestine). But also here (Ese) and many more…

‘Photographing’ seems tough. What clever imagery could we evoke? Striking the right balance in a haiku is difficult, and I think I’m going to find a vintage Japanese photograph to sprinkle with words.

geisha+hairstyle+portrait+2

photographing
a dream makes me
dream

Standard
Verse

Magpie Tales: Graduation Day

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley

before
they let the balloons go
colourful stories
filled
to flow
float
fly
almost endlessly
rip
on jagged branches
lie defeated
in the tumbling snow
blown
torn
on the jagged edges
of jagged stone

before
the balloons
were let loose
from the palms of our hands
from the psalms
of our defunct books
so much was left unsaid
on lips
already poisoned
by too much innocence
too numbed by cold

and anyway
with nothing
nothing to say
before we passed
the real tests
and regressed
moved to our caves
let our balloons take our stories
far from us
in sunset skies
and jagged branches
where even the snow had dried
and we wonder
if we ever really tried?

Standard
Carpe Diem Haiku

Carpe Diem Haiku – Gypsies

Before I post my haiku, or you read it, I’d be honoured if you just took a few minutes to watch this video of the guys – gypsy dancers I know from far back. If anyone thinks this is easy stuff, well, I think you might want to try it.  know exactly how hard it is, and remember one night with guitars, milk jugs, my bongo drum and an Australian with didgeridoo. A beautiful night but some of the toughest dancing ever to learn. But its the synchronicity also – just watch how it builds up, and you’ll go some way to understanding my love for the roma people, the gypsies. Worth every minute, this short video.

barefoot gypsy
dances her path before me
-a romany blessing

russian_gypsy_girl_20_by_dg2001-d2zvdjn

To finish off see how the music reaches deep in this gypsy home. These roma are quite light-skinned, and in my experience more so than the lovely bronze tone some friends had. Makes no difference of course, once a gypsy always a gypsy for many of the European population, who discriminate against roma people, the largest minority in Europe, in the crudest of ways.

 

Standard
Verse

If Jesus Was a Woman (For Magpie Tales)

el greco feast-in-the-house-of-simon 1610 (1)


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

If Jesus was a woman
and not a lesbian
Would there still be feminism?
Would religion start to make sense to me?
And would she have worn a bra?

Could she possibly have had
better hair?
Along with line in fine lingerie
for those seeking salvation
in the arms of a woman

Would her twelve disciples have been women too?
Would they have cross-dressed
or simply just had more style?
And would she have hung from the cross?

And would Peterina
Upon arrival in Rome
have been hung upside down?

If the Buddha had been all-woman
would she have sat under tree so long?

If Stalin had been a little girl
from somewhere deep in the Urals
would the gulags have functioned so well?

Its only Mick Jagger
that would remain the same
if history could be changed
To be herstory
And of course me
Though then
I would be une Lesbienne
-as I secretly am

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Standard

Magpie Tales – The Letter

once

there was a world
where a simple hello

meant a pen
ink

the right paper
the right scratching…

View Post

Opinion
Image
Verse

2-1=0

when I turned around
she’d left town
Forgetting to collect her last words
from my mind

her polish still in the bathroom
where she did her toes
and her watch on the chair
still yelling me the time

and open doors of rooms
permanently closed to emotion
no dishes in the kitchen sink
phones that make no calls

a shower permanently dry
trees sweeping their own leaves outside
pavements bare, sterile and cold
streets that go nowhere under rain that won’t fall

and the drip on the faucet that demands to be fixed
as if I have the time now I’m alone
and anyway it’s not my fault
she should have turned it tight before she left home

Standard
Verse

dVerse – Let It Rain

soft rain
takes me home

to watch drops
roll on a window pane

grey skies
waves caress sand
-a background refrain

I walk the forest
bathed
hesitate not
in my step
it leads me away
from where I came

the passion
of the Amazon has gone
the storm that lashed my skin
nectar of native fruit sinned

her arms tightening
under the lightning

I know
I’m not tamed

for the soft shores of a final destination
that to roam is my home

that my peace is found
in the eye of the monsoon

Standard
Verse

An Endless Migration In Us…The Fourth Qasida

Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011) wrote most of the poems for his first book in 1982 and 1983, when the Israel Defense Forces were invading Lebanon, leading to the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.  But it was in 1948, in Muhammad Ali’s village of Saffuriya, captured by the army of the newborn Jewish state, that the seeds of  The Fourth Qasida were probably planted.

Along with most of the village’s population, the teenage Muhammad Ali and his family fled on foot to a refugee camp in Lebanon, where his 12-year-old sister, Ghazaleh, died of meningitis. They were able to sneak back a year later and eventually even to obtain Israeli residence cards, but were never to return to their ancestral village, as Saffuriyya had been razed to the ground and turned into Tzippori, a moshav or Israeli settlement. Taha Mohammed Ali  settled in Nazareth instead, where he opened a souvenir shop for Christian tourists.

In his poem “The Fourth Qasida,” Muhammad Ali addresses Amira, the girl to whom he was betrothed in childhood, but whom he was not able to marry because she ends up on the wrong side of the Lebanese-Israeli border. Amira’s mysterious departure, never to return, can be equated to the events around Saffuriyya, but is left open for the reader’ s own interpretation at the same time.

The deeply moving poem is full of the flavour of what used to be known as ”Asia Minor’, with its references to nature and fruits, which add tragic appeal. The Fourth Qasida can thus almost be tasted, and is a poem, like many in Arabic tradition, that should be read or ”thought” aloud.

With each reading one discovers more, as always, and for me, in the latest reading, it is when a sudden ”powerful feeling” grows, that Amira might return, and then the sudden shout of ”Amira!” of the last stanza, that echoes still now. Enjoy the read. 

The Fourth Qasida

When our loved ones leave
Amira,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away—
departing, not to return.

The pomegranate trees
whose flowers you loved,
drooped and their shade withdrew,
and the path, and the china bark tree,
and the brooks—
all departed
after you left
and won’t return.

~

During the winter
strange birds seeking refuge arrive,
among them quails
and songbirds with colorful wings,
and also birds of prey,
and some that are sad and frail
and hold you spellbound in their goodness
gathering pebbles and grain,
and trembling in the tremendous cold
and out of a sense of profound strangeness—
though all of a sudden together they leave.
They come as one in winter suddenly,
as with it they suddenly flee.

~

I have, Amira, a strange and powerful feeling,
which grows still stronger in winter,
becoming increasingly forceful
and strange,
and I sense that you’ll arrive
one day with these birds,
an olive’s dove—
enchanting,
sweet-smelling,
graceful and gentle,
and restless,
alighting near
the almond tree in our garden.
A dove whose feelings of cold are fatal,
whose sense of strangeness can kill,
whose longing for the olive
grove is lethal;
a dove who smiles,
her eyes holding gardens of sadness,
while joy’s remains linger on in her coo.
The minute I see her, I’ll know her,
and recognize, too, catastrophes’ rings
hanging from her tender neck.
I’ll know her clear, springlike glance,
her dewy gaze
like the dreams of lakes.
I’ll know her shy, velvety steps,
her measured paces,
like breaths taken by seedlings of lettuce.
And I’ll know her sweet, singular, lilac voice,
which—every time I heard it—
I sensed was coming from deep within me,
a remote place within my soul,
lost and unknown—
this voice that reaches me
and which I greet
and embrace before my hearing stirs.
I will not mistake it,
for I can distinguish between
the voices of all the doves of the world
gathered together in a single garden.
And when I see her, my feet will set out
for the heart’s site within my breast.
But I will not let her see the tears
welling up in my eyes,
neither the tears of my joy for her,
nor the tears of my fear for her,
and not the tears of years of sadness,
nor my years of pain.
My blood will rush in my veins
to meet her then and welcome her.
And she will know us as well,
our sadness will lead her to us,
our anticipation will lead her to us,
the longing will lead her,
the evenings, the ardor.
The night will guide her,
and the clouds and grass
and the forest will show her the way,
the seasons and rivers
and paths—
all will guide her towards us.
And she will know us and cry
remember us and weep,
gather the greens and grain
and sob,
tremble from the force of the cold
and the depth of strangeness,
and weep,
We’ll tell her of the fields of thorn,
the colocynth fruit
and crimes of the wind,
the fangs of dispersal,
the mill of night and its cruelty,
the ardor of evening;
we’ll speak to her of defeat,
of bitterness and the loss—
and remind her of the olive buds,
as she weeps on and on.
She’ll neither find us strange nor fear us,
and she will not draw back from us,
but suddenly she’ll depart
as suddenly as she appeared,
and the winter that brought her
with it when it arrived
that morning will pass from our garden
swiftly like a train.
Waking from her slumber
in terror then, she’ll cry
and hanging from one of its coaches’ windows
she’ll weep,
withdrawing into the distance,
the tears filling her lovely eyes.

~

Amira!
When our loved ones leave us,
as you left,
an endless migration in us begins,
and a certain sense takes hold in us
that all of what is finest
in and around us,
except for the sadness,
is going away,
departing, not to return.

There Was No Farewell
We did not weep
when we were leaving—
for we had neither
time nor tears,
and there was no farewell.
We did not know
at the moment of parting
that it was a parting,
so where would our weeping
have come from?
We did not stay
awake all night
(and did not doze)
the night of our leaving.
That night we had
neither night nor light,
and no moon rose.
That night we lost our star,
our lamp misled us;
we didn’t receive our share
of sleeplessness—
so where
would wakefulness have come from?

Should you wish to ”hear” some more from Taha Mohammed Ali, please do click on this poetry reading of ”Revenge”, read by the poet in Arabic, then by Peter Cole in English (just before the 4th minute), a pearl of an experience.

Standard
Verse

dVerse – Where Is She Now?

Where is she now?
The girl whose picture I found
Posing just after the last snows
Fresh, in her Yakutian meadow

What were her dreams, back then?
Among the flowers that only bloom in Spring
When she posed so long ago
The dark nights so short, the days so slow

Did she spend each spring in her field?
And did her memories leave with the end of summer?
I hope she slipped out of her heels
To walk barefoot in the grass, among scented heather

Did she pluck one wild flower to take home and press?
The girl from Yakutia whose photo I found
In the antique chest I bought last night
From the silver-haired woman, whose eyes shone so bright

 

Standard
Verse

At Rat’s Creek

the sailing boats have sunk
down at rat’s creek where a summer
was not complete without
at least one great big furry rat bite

where knees were meant to be skinned
and where Josie taught me
how to have sinned
down where the water rose each spring

where summer we dared each other
to swim the length of the pond bared
to the midday sun
nothing on except water

and where in those Autumn days
the sun sent its last golden rays
and one by one the boats clogged with leaves
till there was only my one boat left sinking 

so I grew up too
loved and lost and left town
and rat’s creek is now frozen 
every time I’m there in the snow

all the sailing boats have sunk forever
Josephine’s doesn’t even recognise me anymore
glass in her hand when she answers the door
the boats are all sunk – and  there’ll never be anymore summers


written for the wonderful http://dversepoets.com/ page – (topic Childhood Toys & Games), a truly beautiful bi-weekly challenge. My apologies for not getting the reading done I want. But I will.

Standard
Opinion

Ten ‘Things’ We Could Not Do Without

10- Blues. What was the world like before the invention of Blues? Impossible to conceive. BB King, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Taj Mahal, and so many more. You cannot breathe without blues man, how did they before?

9- Tea. In tea friendship, the Japanese saying goes, To say the least. What can’t you say about tea? There is everything in a cup of tea, best drunk in a papercup, or from a flask, or a glass, among friends, lovers, alone, in the morning, afternoon or at midnight. If the world stopped to have a cup of tea,…

8- Tango. The definition of sensuality. You do not use words to describe the tango. Everything is in the accordian and high heels. And inner thigh.

7- French. There is not a more evocative, beautiful language. Period. Granted, it is just a slang of Latin, but no French woman has ever paid for a copper bracelet in my shop, just saying, “bonjour!” guarantees it is free… The language is style itself. When I speak French my voice is in a different octave, and everything is more relaxed.

6- Politeness. The absence of politeness is like the absence of fresh air, or sunrise. When travelling to countries where people are very polite like Iran, where politeness is the culture, it is a sheer delight. Afterwards one misses it like a life without tea or blues.

5- Deserts. Like the tango. Words cannot describe a desert. Imagine an environment that changes a little bit everyday as sand dunes reveal new curves and lines , always warm, where you can sleep outside every night in a perfectly and naturally-cushioned bed, without any mosquitoes or flies. Sheer luxury. Desertification is much underrated..

4- Rain. Rain in the desert is like diamonds. But rain anywhere is beautiful. Rain separates parasites from those who want to enjoy life deeply. I have heard those who curse rain but expect beautifully orange carrots from their supermarket. The whole Bollywood film industry survives on that dance in the rain; rightly so. No-one should own an umbrella. Especially not the queen.

3- Fish n Chips. The royalty of food. None better. Served with tea. Tetleys. Malt vinegar a must. Big chips. You simply have not eaten if you have not had a decent fish supper. Better than any food in France, except a meal shared with my new French neighbour who recently got locked out of her flat, but that is a whole other delicious story.

2- Immigration. Imagine a country with only rednecks. With boiled or deeply-fried pork and overcooked potatoes, wishy washy music without soul, and racism as humour. No spice, zest or colour. Blond hair and blue eyes ruling, and nice high alcohol abuse.. Immigration has been the one overriding success of the modern era. I hate whiter than white countries, with suspiciously pure thoughts. The pilgrims were intolerant, ignorant people who would have all died off without native Indian help, There are those among us that revere religions from the Middle East , yet act as if the people from that area of the world are in some way inferior to “us”. Weird. Most don’t even know where the Middle East is: rednecks.

1- Trekking. There are still people who still drive their cars two blocks to drive cigarettes. Unbelievable. And that people still smoke is actually funny. Talk about sheep controlled by the corporate world. The tobacco stuffed into cigarettes bears little to no relation to the much milder tobacco smoked in the peace pipes my friends, it has been engineered to be much stronger, much more addictive with higher levels of tar, even the lite brands, which is compensated anyway with more chemicals. So buy a pair of canvas slippers and walk in a desert instead. Walk, for days, sleep at nights, through the desert sands. Glorious.

And now, just because…

Standard