An old tree in an old forest

Standing at path level
under this old tree in this old forest,
I imagine them

(1) Top leaves

Full of the arrogance of youth –
brand new and above all –
joyous, soaking up the daily sun –
taking for granted the light, the wind, the sky –
looking down at the ones below
living with less wind, less light, less sky…
But still! (and less battered too)
Unaware of the alternative –
that top leaves become bottom ones when (if) the tree grows.

(2) Bottom leaves
Looking up, indulgent and wise, glad
to enjoy the rays and the air getting through, feeding.

Layers upon layers, they create a vision,
of greens and browns, of light and shade,
branches and foliage swaying,
rocked by the wind – it is dark – it is bright.

 

tree_Kaustav Das Modak
Light through the trees, Chilapata, by Kaustav Das Modak – flickr
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A lovely day

A lovely day

The sound of a bins’ truck down our street.
The warmth and whiff of the mug of tea – or coffee.
The damp smell of humidity from the shower.
The normalcy of brushing one’s teeth.
An areugh and a laugh downstairs.
The smell of toast, the pang, the crunch – spreading butter…
The scent of fresh air and grass when I open the door.
Quacking pigeons and seagulls.
The wind in the leaves.
A kiss under the blue sky.
A cat miawing, a car roaring.
The sound of the truck driving away.
What a lovely day!

 

Blueskyandsun_MattR
Blye sky and sun by Matt R, flickr

The wars I won

The wars I won

My shoulders hurt, my arms, my belly, my hips, my thighs…
I gave birth two days ago
for the second time.
Tired and aching,
I find myself liking some of the muscle stiffness –
they are the signs of the battle I fought
against fear and doubt and through pain,
armed with a ball, a TENS, and the memories of my first.
It was unexpected then,
this time I knew going into fight,
though I’d forgotten too.
I breathed, I held, I moved,
secured and supported by my guardian,
my comrade in-arms, my midwife,
I pushed for Life.
His head first, then his shoulders came, down to his feet!
He breathed and he cried!
As I carry my son in my arms
and feed through the night,
I find myself wishing for tattoos:
one for my eldest, one for my youngest.
They would be my medals
for the most important battles I ever fought,
the most important wars I won.

And there I know,
if I were to keep some – priorly dreaded – marks
of this pregnancy on my body, proud I should be.

 

Back home

“She gave us this gift from back home”
Understanding they are good neighbours, friends even. 
But what her voice and her skin do not say 
is she left this home her country 40 years past. There is no forgetting.  
She cooks one way one day and the other the next,  
speaks to her children in the language for them to access the knowledge, 
the culture. They learn the major tongue elsewhere.  

Uprooted at six months old he lived here for forty years.  
What his voice does not say he tells strangers willingly: I am from there” he smiles and chooses to remember. 
He tells stories and asks for them, 
visits landmarks with his children. 
Did they laugh in school at his name, at his parents' voice,  
until he owned them? Not from here, different” some say, some whisper.  
What does it take to be accepted or tolerated? What does it take  
to not be? A voice, a skin, a remembrance of identity food, people, places, customs? 
Blend in some cannot, would they want it or not, 
a mixture made over time they have a foot over some line,  
drawn with changing references it forgets history and choices. 
Oregon_state_university_flickr
Source: Oregon State University, flickr

The cemetery view

I live by an old cemetery with a few sandstones amongst the trees, and some new marble ones at the back.

For a long time, I have been afraid that I or my child may be swallowed in our morbid days by this sight, by our fear of death.

But fear of death is only fear of the unknown and fear of change, it is no evil but what we make.

These graves are Death Happened, but also Lives Lived!

How many were short, or lain not to be regretted?

The stones, the words, the few flowers say: however long they were there, here lay people who mattered.

It shines in the darkness, by the shadow of the sun in the trees, by the light of the moon on the grass:

Death is a life lived to the end. These graves are lives loved.

graveyard_MattWharton
“Beautiful graveyard shot” by Matt Wharton, flickr

The little things

A poem I wrote this week. Thanks for reading!

 

The little things

Fall in love and live merrily, until

the bells ring and you sing

on the most beautiful day of your life!

A book’s ending, it is the beginning.

You hope, and days add on.

 

You move, and you choose

a house for your budget, a present for each muppet,

year, after year, after year,

while they grow old far away from where you are.

You wait, and days add on.

 

A wonder, a miracle!

A new life enters yours in tears and joy,

as they start dying of old age

and others divide their lives’ worth.

You live, and days add on.

 

You fight to agree over main and silly.

Compromise” is a word with a new meaning and

lovers’ love” loses its standing

in those busy days filled with laughs and fear.

You age, and days add on.

 

They eat at your soul those days.

Little by little, they feed on hope

leaving fatigue in their wake.

Dreams slowly vanish, sorrow becomes childish.

And yet… Yet!

You try, and days add on.

 

Source: Costel Slincu, flickr
Source: Costel Slincu, flickr

Non-residents on the move again

It’s been a few weeks and a few boxes for our coming change of home and country 😉

Something that is bugging me is that I keep wondering how we could tell our 19 months old son that we will be moving. Everybody I’ve been talking to seem to think that he won’t mind, as long as he is with us. But he looks really happy here, and even after a month of summer holidays, he still remembered where everything was, the books, the switches and the TV and how it worked. We have no way of knowing what he will think and feel and we can’t explain what is going on. I’d really love to be able to promise that we won’t be moving again and that the next house, or at least the area, will be the one where we will stay for him to grow up and make friends. I’d love that but we’ll have to see, I find it difficult to imagine us settling anywhere, really.

Because we are leaving soon, I thought I would post this poem written some time ago on the subject:

Non-residents

Some months and years ago we left

friends and family, we could not stay;

and going there sometimes we ache;

there was our Home, of which bereft

we will now be, always at bay.

 

Perceived by most as mad or brave,

we went like Cartier in his days;

recalling home, eager to make,

from then to forth, from breath to grave,

a side-way path with self-found ways.

 

So little time, so much to see,

still we settled – bills must be paid;

learned the culture, what we could take,

learned the language, the history;

in which tongue will our children play?

 

Here is our Home, and where we bide,

blending with years as odd mixtures,

we may ponder at our lives’ wake;

longing, and thrilled, we went, we tried!

Becoming for ever strangers…

Ship to Harwich, source: Nik Morris (van Leiden), flickr
Ship to Harwich, source: Nik Morris (van Leiden), flickr