Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wait For Her

With an azure drinking cup studded with lapis, wait for her
In the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses, wait for her
With the patience of a horse trained for mountains, wait for her
With the distinctive, aesthetic taste of a prince, wait for her
With seven pillows stuffed with light clouds, wait for her
With strands of womanly incense wafting, wait for her
With the manly scent of sandalwood on horseback, wait for her
Wait for her and do not rush.

If she arrives late, wait for her.
If she arrives early, wait for her.
Do not frighten the birds in her braided hair.
Wait for her to sit in a garden at the peak of its flowering.
Wait for her so that she may breathe this air, so strange to her heart.
Wait for her to lift her garment from her calf, cloud by cloud.
And wait for her.

Take her to the balcony to watch the moon drowning in milk.
Wait for her and offer her water before wine.
Do not glance at the twin partridges sleeping on her chest.
Wait and gently touch her hand as she sets a cup on marble.
As if you are carrying the dew for her, wait.
Speak to her as a flute would to a frightened violin string,
as if you knew what tomorrow would bring.
Wait, and polish the night for her ring by ring.
Wait for her until Night speaks to you thus:
There is no one alive but the two of you.
So take her gently to the death you so desire,
and wait.

| Mahmoud Darwish - A Lesson From The Karma Sutra |

A poet of global significance. A writer formed in the crucible of migration and asylum, he powerfully evokes his experiences in poetry and prose that transcend time and place, drawing on collective memories of loss and longing, and expressing the mutuality of trauma and desire for peace.

Born in Palestine in 1942, he suffered two violent expulsions and spent more than 26 years in exile in Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Tunisia and France before being able to settle in Ramallah where he now lives. His highly acclaimed publication Leaves of Olive was published in 1964. His poems reveal the struggle to assert a sense of belonging and identity, and his prose masterpiece Memory For Forgetfulness (1982) powerfully evokes the experience of forced exile.

Mahmoud Darwish has published more than 30 collections of poetry and prose, and his work has been translated into 35 languages. He is the founding editor of the highly regarded literary review Al Karmel which fosters intercultural debate on intellectual issues and links Arab writers with the international literary community.

Friday, August 6, 2010

You Have Stolen My Heart  (updated for submission)

Calling unpublished poets: Firstfruits publications seeks submissions of poetry in English from Singapore poets who have yet to publish a full-length, single-author collection of poetry. Selected work will appear in an anthology to be published next year. All submissions must be sent before 1st September 2010.

there will be a void when i leave.
a void that follows me when we are apart.
you plugged it whenever I saw you or heard you or held you.
otherwise, i am a leaky bucket.

every time i stand in front of you
to sing or speak, my heart beats
so fast, i stare out this glass, its audition day.
scream to the world, impress me, please!
show me something great,
be the risk i cannot take.
and for those moments i am powerful.
i am commander and you,
you are my century.
and in each one, endless possibility.

but from where i stand, all i see is
a single highlight in her hair.
my eyes are drawn, they seem to like that blond
frame for her face.
she is a picture i could hang on my bedroom wall
so every morning i will see her and remember.
she is like deep breaths.
sooner or later i've got to let her go.
so i give up her ghost.
the one that tells me - the ones who love you matter most.

what about the ones i love?
what about those thieves pretending to be precious angels?
eyes haunt me every night.
she fights me to keep my promise.
she writes we love you in their little notes
torn out from her copy books.
we because i wouldn't be appropriate.
it would be too intimate.
let me love you, at that age it is pure.
innocent like hanging between two thieves.
like holding you as your tears soak my sleeves.
holding your little body,
between your chest and your belly,
it fits my palm perfectly.
how did you hide my heart in there?

my heart is with you.
it was cold. shivering.
wanting to beat for someone or something,
and you, you have warmed it with your smile and your song.
your arms are the arms of real women, loving yet strong.
your eyes are fiery jewels, filled with intelligence and honor, just burn on.

remember that God is in every inhale and exhale.
he is in you. around you. with you.

look at your hands.
they may be tiny, but they are perfect.
hold them up to the sky.
see the sunlight shine through the gaps and know,
these are God's hands.
they gather and give, always gather and give.
and when there is nothing to gather.
when the clouds hold themselves in
and the fields are naked.
remember that these are God's hands.
creator hands meant to touch and transform,
hold and heal,
revive and restore.
be fearless and they will prosper you.

do you know you are marvellous and beautiful?
do you know you are meant for something great?
do you know how precious you really are?
do you know how much you're loved?
you must know this.
you must feel it,
experience it
every time you sing or pray,
shout or play.
do you feel it in you?
i do.

but tell me: how did you fit my heart in there?

- Daryl Goh