Sunday, July 20, 2008

Intermezzo- two poems

Nim is a poem built around earth and its qualities. There are two more about elements: water and wind.


Even before the birds began their song for the day,
telling the story as she raises from the murky fields
with the gentleness of the mother bathing her children
preparing them for a thousand one waves to come,
the worker bestows himself at the feet of the rice fields.

He loves her, for her moist breast feeds him
and from her mouth his children drink their life.
This is why he settled her down the road from his house,
where she can listen to his words,
As a good wife and a good mother should do…

One time he traveled west, over the three mountains,
looking for work or maybe a lost relative,
He found her
even though here, she runs wild from the top of the mountains
her bear breast free;
a image: Rusalka, unkind, yet not hateful
- One had to tame her in that country, and know her by her whims,
for she would not settle easy
as she did down the road from his house.
They told him: you have to break her with gentleness,
For if she felt the harness of their dams around her hips
in her maddened fury she will rupture (a blow)
fields, cattle and children.

He hears now Vltava’s laughter echoing through the mountains
and remembers the other in her youth
long before they envisioned children and rice fields.
He heard once before the blood howl in her veins with laughter
as her eyes sent him away with a blow;
it took the patient love of a thousand one days
(or maybe months, or maybe years)
to tame her.

Note: Vltava (Moldau) is the river that crosses Prague and one of the most known pieces by Smetana. It means “wild water” –in Slavic- and has nothing to do with the Romanian province Moldavia.


Her mother warned her:
Do not marry a traveler, not a sailor, not a salesman.
Marry the one whom belongs to this soil you belong too,
wreathed in an embrace, your roots, his roots – the cause of Nypa palms,
the true reason for togetherness.
.. she covered her ears with her veil,
her eyes get their choice under the spell of one smile, light as air.
Her father was easily bought with a handful of stones
from a nameless country,
the blood diamonds.

The rush of the wedding preparation:
the most precious Shabka in the village,
her hands bleached with henna
the veil falls.

“It all happened so fast, all so marvelous”
I told my relatives during the seventh day visit,
all so happy but my mother
for she knew the hardship for the wife who bides
in a foreign country for a traveling husband.
Now I know the pattern of his travels, monsoon.
North-East, he comes home bountiful
brings with him the salty smell of sea water and blood.
South-West, he departs for foreign seas and diamond mines
I stay behind; my tears dry in the desert.

Her naked body enthralled by the morning sleep
lingers in the bed of solitude,
as he enters the room through the open windows
bringing in the tang of salty breeze,
a ghost from the sea of sailors and salesmen
“come in, my love, monsoon”
Rapt by his hug
intense, humid as a rain cloud,
she moans –as she always does under his lovemaking touch.
Outside the rain started cleaning the last traces of the Harmattan,
The blood rain.

Note: Just in case you call for geographic exactness in poetry: yes I know that Nypa (mangrove) palms do not grow in North Africa, but no other palm tree could be used for that image.

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