Welcome to my A-Z 2018, for which I am revisiting Africa, the continent of my childhood and my dreams. The posts are, as always, infoheavy and opinionated, but they are sectioned off - some music, the day’s topic, couple writers, a slideshow from the safaris – plenty ways to cherry-pick. So you may consume just as much, or as little, as you're cool with. Zero obligation to agree with any of my views either, feel free to air yours :)

Monday, 29 August 2016

Point me home


Well, a lot has happened offline in the time I've been away, I packed in loads of catching up during the home leave.  Met up with family members I hadn't seen for a decade, classmates I hadn't met since schooldays, a dear friend from my childhood in Nigeria, my god, no happiness like the happiness of hugging a friend after some 20 odd years' gap! I cried and laughed and talked till my tongue fell off.

As for things here, the last entry won the top spot, whoop! a super pleasant way to end the holiday.  Thank you, WEP and WEPers! 

Write...Edit...Publish...

I also managed to complete the writing course with all requirements duly met, another pleasant thing to happen this August.  Have come away with a whole new perspective on various histories, poets, and writing and reading.  It's been busy and productive and truly fun, if a bit hectic.  I have written everything as it came, no prescheduling, total pantsing paradise. Looking forward to some stay-at-home quiet writing and blogging now, maybe even scheduling a few entries, just for a change, yeah! :)

And here's another installment from the garden's entry, which has 14 sonnets in total, but only 10 got posted so as to fit in with the word limit.



XI.


Place me there when it’s twisted thorns,
just sharp shards of twigs in the pebbles;
the needles a mass of poised weapons
and stars like fallen petals, shrivelled;


lay me there still when the planets
confuse their orders around the sun.
The skies gnaw the gems off Venus
and there are no more rings on Saturn.


Wrap me in as the cosmos crumbles
and time runs backwards to escape -
its own aeons’ works lie in shambles,
space assumes a sinister shape.


Point me to the earth always, always
even when it’s dead, empty space.








You'll find the first ten here in case you want to read.  Happy end-of-August to you and yours.






Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Point me to Write...Edit...Publish



Write...Edit...Publish...




It’s August and it’s time to make my way back to Write…Edit…Publish even as I pack up after the home leave and return to my second home, which is actually the first home because that's where I am most of the year.  WEP, hosted by Denise and Yolanda, is where we gather to share and hone our creative skill sets - mostly writing, but wide open also to other artforms/interpretations. Click the link to find out more. And jump in with your take on the prompt if you like.  


The prompt this time is 'gardens' and I am back with another of my experiments in poetry – this one a 14X14, a series of 14 themed sonnets. Only the word limit means fitting in 10 and not the entire 14. Which matters not a bit, because each part is complete in itself and can be read independently on its own as well as part of the series.  And my treatment of the prompt deviates from the suggestions by the hosts in that I am not talking about any one garden in particular - this entire earth is a garden and I am beyond thrilled to be in it, whatever the landscape, whatever the season, all beautiful, all good...except when Man gets too smart and messes things up big time.



I.

Point me to the earth, always, always,
even one thousand years later,
when all you have is some fragments
and this yellowed, sparse dust of paper.

When words have lost their hundred tongues,
cities have plucked their hundred streets
and thrown them like javelins straight and hard,
when the meek come to leash the elite;

the smoke from rocks is tightly curled,
the sun’s lava a wrinkled-skin moon.
The skyscrapers have their yawns shushed
but still silence won’t carry a tune.

Point me to the Earth even then,
to lost wildflowers, fossils of pollen.


II

Point me always to the horizon,
grind me small into the wild gardens
even when they’re wholly paved over
by old snowflakes and stonemasons.

When the trees have shuddered off their leaves,
when the only bird is just a clock
and time has stumbled into its own crease,
and can’t move or turn on the peptalk.

Earthworms have burrowed for so long
that they’ve gone off the deepest end.
When fingers scratch at concrete lots,
caravans march but don’t befriend.

Point me always towards the soil
through the centuries, through the turmoil.


III

Lay each of the fragments on the ground
even when the grounds have been war,
and each cup has raised a tempest
and stormhands and strong handlers roar

even when the good earth’s frozen
and the bad earth’s melted and burnt;
dig me deeper, deeper, even then
when singleminded sods can’t be turned.

Each village tears up its neighbour’s steps,
the broad river scurries underground,
oceans of oily fury shred,
summer bulbs, human ribs and sounds.

Push me deeper then under the sands
where the tides can’t get at the land.

IV

Where every dream and mote is scorched
and the heat unbearably high -
no seeds can sleep, no grain’s ever tossed,
no sphinx ever moved its stony thigh.

Point me there, when there’s zilch to point
when the garden’s left without its guard,
the beds are just one lump of ruins,
each one of the orchards is charred;

where the mudtrack’s run out, like tears
along the sagging cheeks of settlements.
Point me there, when all are oblivious
to what gardens and orchards once meant.

Even when the earth’s just embers,
ash and smoke, and no-one remembers.

V.

Point me always towards the mud
where a million ranks of marching men,
a million pairs of sturdy boots
have churned up the guts of the fallen.

If you can make out what was the heel -
place it deep where the blood and organs
have soaked into layered stone and soil,
braid the hair into the veins of veins.

Point me always to this wide earth
even when it’s narrowed down by men;
when the stench of greed fouls its old rivers,
uproots and lays waste each garden,

even when it’s slicked with guts and gore
of millions in an ancient, endless war.

  
VI.


Sharpen me like a pencil point
and sow my tip right into the earth;
stab me deep, plant me fathoms down
where molten metal transforms the dirt,

where primordial feuds like dragon teeth
grind in sleep, biding their time to sprout;
work me in lovingly, in so deep
that the longest scythes can’t cut me out

and the most vicious spades cannot reach.
Let my points, be they one or hundred
be mindful of the company they keep
and come to rest always in the mud.

What’s the use of sharpness otherwise
if all it’s slicing is empty skies?


VII

Plant me when all the springs are over
and even the winters have long gone
on tiptoes one after the other
and the day’s just a seasonless dawn,

the skies are apple green and their clouds
come in nimbus wrecks and cirrus shells,
the furrows deadly straight but obscured
and the rain’s just a dreaded acid swell.

Plant me when the weather’s never there -
entire climate’s din is quiet at last
because it’s lost its bearings, unclear
if it’s present at all or it’s just past.

Sow me even then deep into the sludge
when season’s just a meaningless smudge.

VIII

Point me to the earth even when
the borders between the ground and sky
are hard to tell apart, hard to sense
the ends of low and the start of high.

You’ll know the place where your feet stand
shovel there and you’ll find my place too
down in the heart of earth, well beyond
the colourless winds and skies and seablue.

Keep me safe in the closed fists of mud,
wrap fingers of soil about my soul,
and even if you can’t, it’s enough
to touch the earth and be healed and whole.

Point me always towards the earth
not at death, from the first spasm of birth.


IX

I don’t need the wings, I don’t need
to fly anywhere, to be close
to the orbits of stars and galaxies.
Enough that I walk in the boroughs

of milkweed and long grass, quite enough
to feel the sands scorch my bare feet,
the morning mist melt into the mud
and lift again at midday heat.

A vine, a tree, a fruit and a serpent
suffice to make this a garden
suppose it’s only the snake, I’d still want
to be here always, even then.

Don’t fret if you can’t dig much, can’t shove
me deep. Just a touch of earth is enough.

X

Point me always towards the earth,
place me firmly on it or below -
a Midas embrace in reverse
drawn gold from this dust, full from hollow,

morphed into something rarer, finer,
in moments and over eternities.
Lay me down and embed me firmer
into these landscaped uncertainties.

Point me always, always to this earth,
forget what edens lie beyond grasp.
Pinpricks of light in wide smears of dark -
the sky’s a void too empty to clasp,

so place me here, freezing sands or warm,
these gardens of wastelands. And I’m home.



 W.C -993


And I'm actually home in stable wifi zone in a couple of days more, and will definitely come around then if I haven't been able to do so before. It's great being back here at WEP.....point me to WEP always..  :)




Monday, 15 August 2016

Fitting it in is a breeze!



Freedom is a short word, shapeless like water;
I can pour it into my throat in a draught
and it quenches one thirst, but leaves the other -
tackling that requires more than just wordcraft.


Freedom – it washes into my body
like an ocean tide, and leaves too, just as
the ocean does. The sands littered with rocky
debris, bottlecaps and butts, seaweedfuzz


beached and helplessly immobile till a wave
is moontugged back again. Freedom is a short
word – it fits into my knuckles, the shape
of my lips, the chipped tooth of truth, a sport


of time. Freedom is just a two-syllable
word, it can fit in anywhere, no trouble.







Happy Independence Day to you if you are celebrating 70 years of self-rule! Jai Hind!


Monday, 1 August 2016

Signed and sealed and sitting....








Signed and sealed and sitting not quite pretty, but I am sure I will manage to write up something, there’s inspiration enough in the monsoons in India where the whole country and countryside come alive in fifty million shades of green! Find out more about the Write...Edit…Publish challenge on their page by clicking on the link or add your name to the linky right at the bottom of this page.

Loads of poetry going on in my life right now, it's kind of insane here trying to read/write for an online poetry course, and balancing the holiday R&R! But have managed to keep my head above water so far.  Blogpost poetry taking a backseat though. So leaving you today with a pic not equal to a thousand words but definitely some poetry material hidden in there somewhere if one cares to look close enough.  Have a wonderful week!