the wind speaks
the wind speaks
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
Listen. I have a story to tell. How do you measure happiness, is my story. There are many roads, all well-travelled, that have carried this question like luggage, till it weighed too much to take any further. But I have a secret formula; I won’t try to give the answer, only ask the right questions.
My story is therefore a quest, to find the right questions to ask. In our ‘Western world’ we know how to measure wealth, and we use the same yardstick to measure the amount of happiness we have been allocated. And we have mainstream media who always reassures us by informing us how terrible life is outside our Western ‘sphere’, our cocoon.
Not everyone in our mutual societies clings to the same belief, but most do suckle to it. Most, but not all. I know. I have lived and traveled with Europe’s biggest minority, the Romany Gypsies, and now I am learning at the university of nature among the Saami reindeer herders in Lappland. There is a lot to learn.
The first thing one learns is to try to toss the concept of’Noble Savage’ out of the window, the literary stock character that expresses the concept of an idealized indigene, the ‘Indian’ or ‘aboriginal’ outsider, or “other” who has not been “corrupted” by civilization, and therefore symbolises humanity’s innate goodness. This may seem a pure and pleasant thought, but it is not. One person who often embodied the Noble Savage concept in England was the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. Yes, this Highlander was able to write poetry.
But undeniably, the Gypsies, or Saami people I have lived with or met do not aspire for our aspirations. Granted, we have destroyed most of theirs, but their core values are not ours and ours are not as good as we like to pretend they are. We have a lot to learn, and indigenous peoples do have innate knowledge we do not have, or refuse to have.
When my friend Dr Agnieszka Wojtecka travelled to Namibia, she lived among the Himba people, and photographed her life with them. Poorer people she had never seen in her travels. More peaceful, calmer, or connected to the rhythm of nature either. She asked permission for each photograph she took, and explained to the Himba she would be using the photos for lectures and presentations. They were happy to oblige. And yes, were able to understand those concepts.
As I recently received a strident email, critisising my choice of prompt photo for the Ligo Haibun Challenge this week, I decide to include more photos in this haibun post. I am European. Perhaps that goes part of the way to explaining why nudity does not quote ‘offend’ me. Perhaps if I was quote ‘North American’ I might not have the same values, who knows. Well, I do. This is the way Himba tribal people live and dress. They do not feel uncomfortable knowing others know, nor are they Noble Savages some subconsciously attribute them to be. My self-titled ‘North American’ emailer has stated that if she writes a haibun she will not include the photograph. You are then giving a proverbial slap on the face of the subject photographed, my friend, nothing else, and showing that you consider her values lower than yours. That is unacceptable.
in a dusty village
happiness among the trees
echoes not felt here – why?
to stop honour killings
and stop feminists ignoring this
men must be Colossus of Rhodes’
Written and posed for in the name of those beautiful women murdered. In European countries honour killings are not given the attention they deserve. Femdem are right to remove their tops when they protest. Our societies need to show just how ridiculous the concept of ‘family honour’ is. We need mainstream Feminism to stop ignoring this issue and pretending it belongs to some ethnic minority in their countries and does not concern them. It is racism to not speak out in defence of women murdered, and the total absence of Feminist voices in this regard is a scandal. We must stand tall and be counted about this.
There should be no doors to a church
No nails to a cross on which a victim is hung
In order for us to chant a hymn
No priest in sacrilegious sacraments
No virgins to satisfy the inability of some
There should be no lord no saviour
Except a deep understanding of nature
No flock to follow
Deaf, blind and dumb
No teacups or mugs
With the picture of the pope
No creedence to the belief in any holy goat
No masses to join to whitewash any guilt
Stop believing someone from a fantasy they call history
Has a role for you
Spend a little time in the freedom of natural rhythms
Do not be tamed into becoming sheep
Do not be shamed, into becoming sheep
Even a hermit such as I enjoys the company of guests from afar in the past…
sun kisses forest
trees glow in wild abandon
autumn in splendour
Celestine is a blogger in Ghana. Please click on her name to see more of her wonderful haiku and writings.
The Mont d’Aravis, the highest peak on the skyline, that I climbed so many, many moons ago with my father, a beautiful climb. The desire to get to the top again so strong, but it will never be…
‘My own prescription for health is less paperwork and more running barefoot through the grass.’
‘Walking barefoot, also known as “earthing,” has gone from being a kooky counter-culture trend, to a scientifically-researched practice with a number of remarkable health advantages, such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep.
by Dr. Isaac Eliaz, respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Dr. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment.
And what if we were fooled?
That rainbows are just scars in the sky
That we stand and applaud
While it bleeds?
Let it rain leaves
And if you must shed them all
Save the last one for me