Spring, Shamals and the Aftermaths of Vaccination

***

The memories of the days are beginning to disappear into a haze, each one a maelstrom of activity that begins with waking with a dull, lingering sense of dread and ending the same way it began, only with a sense of battle weary tiredness layered on. One day it is Sunday, and then suddenly it seems like it is Tuesday and then Thursday – brings respite – only for it all to begin again; wash-rinse-repeat. The good thing is that somehow it is the beginning of March, and each day that passes quickly brings the arrival of that symbol of the worker’s Faustian pact, a salary, another day closer. In my more sanguine moments, I remind myself that for all my bellyaching, there are far worse things to moan about in the world than work.

With March comes a change of season to spring, if one can call day time temperatures in excess of 30 degrees C spring. December, and my will-I-or-won’t-I-wear-a-jacket phase, seem far away now. It is the season for sand storms, as I found out to my pain the other day when I got caught in a sand storm of sorts. As my bare legs stung with the impact of the grit, whipped into a potent weapon of attrition by the wind, I was grateful for the protection my glasses afforded my eyes. That does not happen often.

The other thing that March brought was getting a shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Every time an opportunity to register came up, I put my name down, conscious of the seeming inevitability of vaccine passports and what not for travel. I opted to get my shot on a Wednesday evening, my thinking being that the timing would allow me sleep off any side effects. I felt especially tired the next day which might be related to not being able to sleep well the night before. My fitness tracker spotted a 0.4 degree C spike in body temperature for the next two days before returning to normal, but otherwise I had no discernible side-effects. One hopes that vaccine uptakes improves around the world, and a sort of normalcy returns thereafter. It has been a long hard year for most people!

For the word of the week, Khamis, for Thursday and respite.

Recent Finds

  • Teju Cole chats Fernweh amongst other things on the Behind the Covers podcast. Baldwin, race, photography and Switzerland all feature in this wide ranging chat.
  • Apparently, eating fresh mango with gold cutlery is the business, at least so say the experts on The Infinite Monkey Cage. Fun-fact, silver (in spite of its reputation as being the material of choice for posh, rich folks actually tastes the worst.
  • Confirmation that the ‘Deen Market demolition is to go ahead is somewhat bitter-sweet news on a personal level. It was hardly the most salubrious of places to eat in, or do anything else to be honest as O points out, but being starved of Nigerian food in my first few years there, popping in there provided some respite now and again.
  • Jane Goodall & Adam Grant chat Leadership (and chimps), not surprisingly there is stuff to learn in the areas they overlap.
  • And something poetry related of course. Naomi Shihab Nye chats poetry, growing up and a whole lot of other stuff with Krista Tippet at the On Being Podcast.

What It means when I step into the shower with my glasses on…

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash. For The Poetic Asides prompt #554

**

Sometimes I think
that my sight is leaving me,
the common, quotidian comfort
of seeing the world that touches me
slowly slipping away, taking flight
but not yet gone; only a little less close
the next time morning rolls my way.

Maybe it is my mind forgetting
where the thin discs
of shimmering glass
that bring the light end,
and where my rods and cones
ravaged by time begin.

Maybe it is the world reminding me
to cherish the moments of sight
whilst as yet they still linger.

The Sunday Muse: Times and Season

For The Sunday Muse prompt #141:

**

Each whirl of the earth
around the Sun’s well
of power and of light
brings us back here.

Like a boat
dragged inexorably
by the rising tide to shore,
the swell of the sea
brings us peace,
to a season of reflecting,
of contemplating and of pause.

Time’s rhythm
like the faint echo
of a distant drumbeat
is welcome whisper
in our ear. Yesterday
left the things
we held dear cracked.
Today is a reminder
to rebuild better.

30. Forgiveness

For Day 30 of the November Poem-A-Day Challenge. Photo by Marco Ceschi on Unsplash. After Dilruba Ahmed

***

And I am learning
to forgive myself,
to not let the weight
of the worries of the world
hang heavy on my head,
to accept that sometimes
the broken things
around my feet
are the world being itself,
that sometimes beauty slips out
like light through a cracked down
from the riven parts of a fragile bowl,
that sometimes it is not you
or me or the distant things between
but life, and living
and being breaking,
and beginning the cycle
anew.

5. Ruin

Dunnottar Castle. For Day 5 of the November Poem-A-Day Challenge, a poem about beautiful ruins.

**

You come from afar
bearing the gift
of your open self
to this place
from whence they say
the honours of the land
once slipped, hid
in the hem of a buxom
lady’s dress.

What you see
are its tired walls straining
against the pressure
of the wind, clinging
with their last lives
to the cliffs that saved them
from past wars.

On the days
that the sun’s light
catches the slight slant
of her weathered walls,
you will realize
there is beauty
in the rugged persistence
of broken things 

3. Dreaming

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash. For Day 3 of the November Poem A Day Challenge. A poem about dreaming.

**

And still,
I find myself
reaching for the
solidity of certain
earth, my feet aching
for the cold comfort
of the morning sand,
breaking my free fall.
This is a fevered dream
that returns each night
in which i find that home
though close, disappears
in the dim distance.

 

 

2. Home

Photo by Lea Böhm on Unsplash. For Day 2 of the November Poem A Day Challenge. A Poem for when the unexpected triggers memories of home.

**

It hangs heavy
on the heart, its heft
never ever far away it seems,
always lurking, always waiting
always ready to spring to life
to the lines of a song suddenly
borne on the wind, or the whiff
of mothballs, unlocking the memory
of the gathering, and of ritual.

Hers is a name that lingers
on your tongue, sometimes forgotten
but then remembered
in the things we least expect.

1. Finding Home

For the November Poem-A-Day challenge. A poem about Entering, but mainly about leaving…

**

On the days when I wake
to a haze hiding the lushness
of the valley below, its shadow
hanging heavy like a shroud
on limbs shrivelled by the ravages
of time, I ponder the bland bleakness
of air heavy with water, how it smothers
life, and the beauty of things.

Each day where the light yields
to the pressure of collapsing space,
and time seems stilled, when the
tenacity of hope is tested
by the roiling reality of the things
which seem certain, I reach
for the small light of the things
that I remember, a thin thread, a tether,
somehow holding out against
the testing threats of the present,
guiding me home.

For Light

Because we really need to #EndSARS #EndSWAT and end whatever silk purse is being made out of the sow’s ear that is that organization. I make no claims whatsoever to this image.

***

The shadow of a long, dire night
has lingered over us, the weight
of the might of the ones who swore
to serve, and to protect, seared into
the small of our backs by their whips
and their boots, the air heavy
with the stench of the dread
which drenches everything
in their wake.

We fight for the light, standing strong
against the rowdy reality of reprisal,
that the bloated earth, sated by the blood
of the ones snatched before their time
might gain respite. That the ones to come
might fly free, dream and be. That home
may become a place where their visions
are not lost to the tyranny of the graveyard.

This is why we fight. For the light.
To banish the night.