Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Mindful of kitchen sounds

Willow  tree with galls, Swindon, 14 January 2020.

Two poets in this fleeting post, both born in the same year as me (1958).


The clink-clanging of
knives and forks
against a susurrus
of sobs escaping
the steel faucet...

Me in this twilight hour
sipping red in cobalt...

Mindful of kitchen
sounds slowly seeping
into the woods from
whence appear a family
of deer I sometimes
spy from the
square window

And point out
to the delight
even now
Of grown children
And their father
familiar with the
madness of mothering

the Other

(from Fawzia Afzal-Khan, "M/Other")

Reading Fawzia Afzal-Khan's poems (in women: poetry: migration ed. Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, 2017) takes me not to more poetry but to singing, theatre, academic writing, journalism. "My poetry -- like my scholarly and memoir writings, my teaching and other forms of art such as my singing -- sits astride, explores and emerges from the border crossings that make up my life." She was born in Lahore, lives and works in the USA.

History of Unforgetting: Fawzia Afzal-Khan (that's her singing, from about the 5-minute mark) with the Kathak dancer Parul Shah:

Mullahs and music in Morocco (2010):
How my daughter's interracial relationship opened my eyes (2017):
Journey to the house of stone: where past meets the present in the Levant (2017):


Mir Mahfuz Ali's poem "A Lizard by my Hospital Bed" came up for discussion yesterday at my reading group. I've found the text online on Kim Moore's blog, so I'm feeling OK about requoting it in full.

A Lizard by My Hospital Bed

The mouth of silence trickles forward a bloodless lizard.
I take off my oxygen mask and allow

his cracked sound to crawl into my teenage head.
Like me he puffs for air.  I wheeze.  He pants.

He does not break his meditation as the hours pass,
my eyes still on him when he jumps on a thinking fly

with a fine open-air gesture.  An education by lizard:
focus, don’t rely on impulse.

Keep the foam clear so my voice doesn’t burst
through my trachea hole

like shrapnel in a pomegranate.
My eyes flick a question, city kerosene thuds

echoing in my head.  My friend says nothing.
Goes one step back, two steps forward.

How can I let him go?  I grab the fellow by his tail,
but he still escapes through the gap in my throat.

This poem (which refers to his injury after being shot in the throat by riot police during an anti-war protest in Bangladesh) comes from his only collection to date (Midnight, Dhaka (2014)). He was born in Dhaka and lives in the UK.

Mir Mahfuz Ali reading a poem about Salma:

Willow sprig with gall

These galls might be the work of the saw-fly Rabdophaga rosaria, which produces terminal rosette galls on willows. But they don't look quite like the images I've found online, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Gall of reduced leaves on willow

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger