Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Ninth Day of Poetry

One Place to Go

There was no place to go
when winter dimmed
There was this all that came to light
When sacred fires skimmed our faces over fences of memory
I waited for the unfed Santa-man on my school's sidewalk
He didn't give, but begged for coins
For him there was no sweet crumbs baking
Warm dishes squealing in the little arc of holiday lights
Also there was this fat nun-teacher in our section who did a jig for us
She tall and big, sang throaty carols in the name of deserts, donkey and a child
We saw that kid everyday near the pale woman by the shops
She wore rags like royal attire and a smile to light the brightest
Candles lit by my Catholic neighbor that competed
With my grandma's heathen oil lamp flames chasing the Sun-god
Running askew at solstice behind the sky
To flicker till the rays fell straighter on her dew-soaked Tulsi
Grandma would scatter puja grains and chant her Uttarayana mantras
And tell me about a path that leads to a garden
Of ceremonies where we apparently could share
Sugardrop laughs with my classmate Maria Joseph -- also Humeira and Maya
There, where incense sticks burned around ravishing firepits,
There was no place for lines or walls
There was no place to go other than
Longings for prim days that opened their doors wearing festive shades.

by fleuve-souterrain from Do you see?

To read this poem in its original setting with the artwork that accompanies it please click here.


Anonymous said...

Very nice, that catholic neighbor must have been me --- thanks for opening up my view point on the holiday season --- you have a very interesting site. Thank you for sharing.

fleuve-souterrain said...

Dear soulintention
I really appreciate your comment... indeed the holiday experience for me used to be pretty diverse allalong my growing up years in India. And thanks for liking my blog... do come back more to read there... Best!