Unsuitable Girl

Poetry

This poem is for Cemil and Yildiz Arikan, dear friends for many decades.  They formed a plan to lure us to Bodrum this year.  And when we got there we saw a heavenly place, lively, energetic, beautiful with an almost tangible sense of Turkish self confidence, a quiet realisation that this rich country has untold treasures still to unfold to the world.

 

Impressions of Bodrum

                  

Turkish pines whispering, swishing, shushing and

sighing, pirouetting to the dance of the

restless winds, buffeting, teasing and never

still, brushing windows, rattling doors, forever

winging soft, through the white hillside house, cool,

freshening, twirls up and up, out, back to the

sea. Marinas, turquoise seas, boats moored, masts spike

into clear impossible blue, traceries

of ropes, myriad angles of elegant

rigging, played by the wind, Aeolian chords

sing and sing, their thrumming music holding us

in thrall, energy, beating, tapping, dancing

on the impatient sea.

 

From the rooftop, a hushed landscape, horizons

misting to white from silver blues and glinting

sea. Floating islands, goat herd picking through the

unforgiving rocks, hunting for green, tiptoes

down and down, bells tockling, tockling, magical

sounds from childhood and fairy landscapes, long gone.

 

Hot rocks rear at crazy angles, orange and

red fissured. Young mountains tear at the sky with

sharp teeth. Agaves, fleshy arms sagging in the

long heat, prickly pears offer their sharp harvest

to oven days. And olive groves, buffeted

by ceaseless busy breezes, ripple silver green

tresses across the hillsides. Beaches and bays,

soft warm sands, crystal waters, bougainvilles, white

and fuchsia brim over the walls, frill the windows,

spill from balconies, pomegranite trees bend

heavy with promise , nod in the wind. Flowers

abound, purple clusters, orange bells hang their

scented heads. Butterflies flit past slatted blinds

spilling morning sun over the breakfast table.

 

Turkish welcomes where ever we go, markets

and beaches, cafes and harbours. This land is

blessed... Rainbow steps give subtle message. We are

listening. We are watching. Don't take us for

granted. Like the wind, we have our spirit, will

and energy.

 

 

Jeannie Mehta

September 2013

 

And here is the rainbow steps story.  Done for no idea of activism, but taken up by ordinary people across Turkey to show solidarity against the dead hand of grey municipality think. We saw a small rocky set of steps down to a harbour area painted rainbow colours in Gumushluk, a tiny place on the edge of the Aegean at the end of the peninsula in  western Turkey.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/turkey-rainbow-stairs_n_3895082.html

 

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Love poem to the Cairo Pot

(Found in the under-the-stairs cupboard, when I was about 10)

 

You sang of Egypt, Pharaohs, shifting,

whispering sands, dunes sliding soft to a

silent horizon, of hands, nimble

Nile fingers, shaping delicious curves.

His daily bread, but in you I see

foreshadowing of choices made.  The

rough coolness of clay, blue and gold, still

brushstrokes, dried too soon in  the blaze of

Cairo’s blistering sun.

 

Your beguiling form drew me, as I

was caught by eyes from distant shores. In

my narrow Scottish cell, you struck a

spark.  Is that your hidden power? You

link future, present, past;  a life with

love from Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

This one is rather dark, but came from a painful time. The title is Distant Echoes because it is all distant, so distant that it's out of sight and gone.

 

                           Distant Echoes

Stark garden lake[1], deep brooding darkness comes,

all broken dreams, blind Angel's curse from split

corrupted tongue. Rocks squirm and growl. The bloody

mist of voices. Will they ever fade?

 

The waters clear with time. The dance resumes.

The nettles lie in wait. Just stamp on them

regardless. The blindfold cast away.

The eyes must look again. At last begin to see.

 

The doubts disperse, dissolve. A nettle leaf's

in reach to grasp. The risk of sting is life.

To fear will bind the heart. Unlock the cuffs

 of dread, to let the beat begin.

 

The dreams that were are gone, though frozen shards

remain. But scattered, thrown to endless void

they fly; no power to shred or gash again.

The blood had sealed the wound.

_____________________________________________

 

                                                                                    

 This one was written as part of an OU assignment to take a household utensil and write a poem about it.

...My life in a wooden spoon!

 

                       The Wooden Spoon

 You stir custard, curries, casseroles and creams

and mud from deep within my pond. What trails

of whirling memory wrap around your stem.

A genie in reverse you draw in strands

which stick, to float from deep forgotten times.

Within you crystallised emotions shine,

a pensieve[2], to plunge me back in time. I sit

before my milky pond with island of oats.

I breathe the grainy salty steam and dip

my porridge spoon, to swallow down the warmth.

Then shiny shoed, and  ribboned hair, I go

to school with eager feet and smiling steps,

my satchel shouldered, full of precious things

like pencils, smelling new and sharp, a box

of crayons, waxy , soft, their colours bright,

red pencil case with rubber, sharpener. Filled

with childish expectation, skip and jump

into the playground, running round, a game

of tig,’You’re it! You’re it!’ I run to catch

and then the whistle shrills. I stand in line

and school begins. We sit in rows at desks

of heavy wood. The ink pots filled, wet pools

of black, I dip with scratchy nib. The spoor[3]

of marks from there to here is written now

across the pages of my life. Now stir away

still you write the fabric of my life.


[1] This is the pond in our garden, which was always a focus of happiness, and three years on, is again.

[2] J K Rowling’s magical device which takes one back in time, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

[3] The track or trail of an animal, especially a wild animal. [Afrikaans, from Middle Dutch]

 

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 Picture me sitting in the sun, gazing over the front garden with its shifting textures

 and colours at high summer... as I sip my chilled white wine, butterflies insinuate themselves

 like tiny dancing  ghosts among the lavenders, oregano,anemones, and white agapanthus. 

 

                   Butterfly

In your flittering freedom over

the flowers, the grasses in summer,

you drink deep from necks of buddleia

blossoms, held by sweet perfumed nectar

 

drops. Delicate legs cling to fragile

petals, world of ephemeral life,

the flower will wither. You will mate

and die. Leave your progeny to hatch,

 

graze, sleep, emerge in final gorgeous

beauty to live in the few days they

have remaining. I am learning from

you to be...in the moment, savour

 

colour, aroma, taste, pulse, passion

for living. Carpe diem is your

daily bread and oh you do it so

elegantly. Your delicacy

 

is your charm. Your colours draw me. You

decorate my garden, flickering

among the waving grasses, swaying

purples, soft silver greens. Your tongue delves

 

deep, draws in the life giving juice from

the tiny trumpets. You bask in the

sun, on warm walls, flaunting fabulous

iridescence, glistening wings.  What

 

do you see from your myriad eyes?

A  gauze of colours, and a map of

scents leading you to sustenance and

gilding the lily of my long life.

 Jeannie Mehta 2011

_____________________________________________

 

 

Written after a walk in Cassiobury Park, Watford one freezing cold January afternoon, 2011

 

Walking in Cassio,

cold shock eats

our heads, pinches our

cheeks. Stark, stern trees stand

stiff and stare. No welcome there

today.

 

Clay lungs deep

soaked with snow and

ice melt

sighing out their

chilled wet breath,

repel our swaddled

bodies.

 

Freezing fingers

needle us away, back to the

cosset of Corsa.

And Costa calls

in the Mall.

 

We clasp hot

chocolate to thaw our

faces, unfrost our veins.

Sweet heat revives

the blood.    

       *

 

 

I like writing haiku...something about the tight use of language, like painting a tiny picture....usually written in small moments of intense happiness.

Haiku are one of the best known and most practised forms of poetry in the world. They used to  have 5-7-5 syllables (in Japanese haiku) before 1900, but now with English and other languages having different rhythms and is 'stress times' rather than syllable timed, so English can express the same content in fewer syllables.

I usually aim for 17 syllables.

 

This is the most famous of all haiku:

'Old pond...

a frog jumps in...

the sound of water'

 

There is a Zen influence in Haiku. What Zen, other  Buddhist sects and Shinto all have in common with Haiku is the harmony between nature and humans.

The strength of  Haiku is their ability  to suggest and evoke rather than merely to describe.

Here are some of my attempts:

 

Sun on my face warm

beech mast crunches under my feet

squirrel hiding nuts

 

             *

 

Ragged butterfly

Finds slanting beams of sunlight

last glimpse of summer

 

            *

 

Orange berries glow

along the prickly hedgerow

beckoning the birds

 

             *

 

Autumn morning mist

beaded webs drape the flowers

beautiful death traps

 

              *

 

Last rose hangs pink

wasting its breath unseen now

winter dark has come

 

               *

 

Red kites dance

wind buffets feathers

spring pairs forming

new life promises

 

              *

 

Red kites drift

arrow winged hunters

spying over the woods soaring

 

               *

 

Kites high gliding

red hunters quarter the forest stands below

prey hides

 

              *

 

The kite haiku were written during a drive to Oxford from Abbots Langley in 2012

 

Baby's eyes so bright

Anything is possible

Clutches  the sunbeam

 

That baby was Darsh, lying on the floor at 80 Kenton Road, smiling up at the light falling through the curtains.  He tried to hold the light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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