A river of love poems

 

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Category: Reflections 20 Apr 14

 

Easter Sunday: It’s not a day to stab at scabs, to linger over the flayed remains of corpses, to be fixated in fear, or made prone by cruelty. No: it’s a day to soak in beauty (stop reading, look out, up—see sky, perhaps ocean with its concrete slabs and silky warmth, its steady endless beat, the hills, leaves warmed to a crisp by the sun, the unashamed hefty tropical foliage, garish orange and pinks so pale, so fragile; mangoes split in half-shade, devoured by ants, fistfuls of crumbling earth.)

What is beauty, if not love? And what is love if it doesn’t soak your soul, cyclically crucify you, hollow you out, scrape out your skin till its knife touches bone— and with an equal surprise, resurrect, reconstruct broken pieces? I asked the St James Writers Group (led by our own internationally- acclaimed writer Monique Roffey, who has nurtured us like baby chicks to stab at our hearts and spill out our authentic selves) to send me a poem of love. I’ve also chosen a few of my own.

The poetry is broken within the restraints of the prose column. Make of this poetry a narrative of your own. Muse. Dive deep. Emerge rejuvenated, if you can.

From Monique Roffey: A poem by Raymond Carver

“And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”

From the Indian Bengali poet Sudeep Sen (hailed as the next emerging “great poet”), who at my request, sent me his latest love poems. This one is titled Longing:

“The very last drop of rain perched on the edge of her navel—the last bead of sweat balanced on the feather of her eyelash— the last long-wet of my kiss on her skin—all these demand more, more, more—more wet, more wet—yearning for more rain, fire, desire, moisture—and the cool chill of crystal-water, thirst, saliva, longing, rain.”

From Anna Levi: an excerpt from her poem dedicated to the poet Erza Pound, titled Our Mutual Friend, Pound

“Ezra is a bigamist. His mother never discovered his adulteries, / many at times; always on a foreday morning, / His servant would find him drunk asleep with a tricky tart. / Our mutual friend forgot his bath. / Ezra has a new lover. Three of his wives have gone into hiding, / Dorothy is writing a letter to her psychiatrist about ill treatment, / Viola has gone into exile, / Heart broken, / Never to be found, / And Olga, once a devoted mistress, / Has confessed to her father about a loathsome Ezra.”

From Jannine Horsford: excerpt of a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva titled An attempt at Jealousy

“How is your life with that other one? / Simpler, is it? A stroke of the oars / and a long coastline— / and the memory of me.”

From Shivanne N Ramlochan: an original published poem titled Kalah

“In the narrowest of hours hold yourself together with the words. / In the ache of the silent crawl to dawn document your blood / feel the dirt rinse itself from your shins. You are a rifle, girl / as you hold yourself against the sky the clouds split; cirrus streaks in your hair a halo fair and terrible.”

From Ayana Gillian Lloyd: a poem by Warsan Shire titled First Thought After Seeing You Smile

“come with every wound and every woman you’ve ever loved every lie you’ve ever told and whatever it is that keeps you up at night every mouth you’ve punched in all the blood you’ve ever tasted come with every enemy you’ve ever made and all the family you’ve ever buried and every dirty thing you’ve ever done every drink that’s burnt your throat and every morning you’ve woken with nothing and no one come with all your loss your regrets, sins memories black outs secrets come with all the gold in your mouth and that voice like needle hitting record come with your kind eyes and weeping knuckles come with all the blue ink come with your babies come with your swollen heart I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than you.”

And finally, from Derek Walcott: the poem Love After Love

“The time will come / when, with elation / you will greet yourself arriving / at your own door, in your own mirror / and each will smile at the other's welcome, / and say, sit here. Eat. / You will love again the stranger who was your self. / Give wine. Give bread.

Give back your heart / to itself, to the stranger who has loved you / all your life, whom you ignored / for another, who knows you by heart. / Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, / the photographs, the desperate notes, / peel your own image from the mirror. / Sit. Feast on your life.”

As Sudeep Sen wrote in his prose poem Carole: “Words—our greatest gift, our only strength. It is a tactile act, writing. Writing paints. It dreams, it weeps.”

The NGC Bocas Lit Fest, based in T&T, is an annual celebration of books, writing, and writers. The fourth annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest runs from April 23-27.

 

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur