Monday, October 26, 2015

Poems of the Week ~ Kerry, Bjorn and Rajani

This week, my friends, we are featuring  poems by three very fine poets, Kerry O'Connor of Skylover, Bjorn Rudberg of Bjorn Rudberg's Writings, and Rajani of thotpurge. Each of these poems, when I read it, made me stop, catch my breath, and say "wow!", and I thought they might do the same for you. Enjoy.



Kerry O'Connor, South Africa

Esifazane

When a woman’s cry pierces
the dark places, like a spike heated in coals,
it slips through the jelly of the eye
to silence the moon.

A woman knows the ways
her body incites hatred, how her bleeding
is anathema to despisers of the womb.
Her ankles are bound.

In every age, a woman hears
the ring of chains new-forged by fists that reap
through night spaces in masked secrecy
and throttle her terrors.

Each woman feels the weight
of her belly as a basin, a catchment place,
and each breast is a bourn whose origin
is the wellspring of tears.


*Esifazane is the IsiZulu word for Female.

Sherry: "Each breast...a bourn whose origin is the wellspring of tears." I think every woman can resonate with those words.  How did this poem come to be, Kerry?

Kerry: August 9 is Woman's Day in South Africa, inaugurated in 1994 to commemorate the 1956 protest march led by women of all races against harsh Apartheid laws in South Africa. This poem is a tribute to women the world over who still struggle against gender discrimination.

It is inspired by the poetic style of Australian poet and activist, Judith Wright, featured in The Imaginary Garden's Sunday Mini-Challenge, in particular her poem Bora Ring and the biographical statement: The main theme in the volume was the poet's awareness of time, death, and evil on a universal scale.

In the main, however, I have been affected on a deeply emotional level, this year, by the reports of excessive cruelty to women by extremist patriarchal enclaves, such as Boko Haram and ISIS, as well as several well-publicized cases of historical abuse of under age girls, both in South Africa and abroad.

Sherry: It is a powerful poem, and we share your concern about the abuse of women, of all ages, worldwide. Thank you, Kerry, for addressing this issue so effectively.


Our next poem is Bjorn's  "A Sharkwind Laced With Need". The word "sharkwind" alone made me catch my breath.


Bjorn Rudberg, Sweden



A SHARKWIND LACED WITH NEED.


When the windows to my soul are smashed,
by blowing shattering glances,
gusts of words — as hail
pebbles rolling on the hardwood floor.
Doors are closed and locked,
chains across my chest.
and from the sea a sharkwind blows.
In chill of silence afterwards
The night is laced with need
acute a sense of absence
plagued by words
unstitched.

Sherry: Truly breathtaking: "....from the sea a sharkwind blows".  Bjorn, tell us a little about this fine piece of writing. 

Bjorn: That poem was written in response to the wonderful poem: "Broken Windows"  by Cheron L'Estrange, one of Kerry's students. I wanted to extend the metaphor of broken windows to a feeling of sitting indoors and seeing the windows shattered. I created the word sharkwind more out of accident, when I was typing up the poem, and thought it could reflect the menace, that becomes obvious in the last line... words unstitched. I see the shattered windows with those words and wind as the result of a really destructive quarrel.

Sherry: And you succeeded brilliantly my friend. Your use of imagery is so effective.


Now let's take a look at the depthful poem written recently by Rajani : "Unhealed".


Rajani Radhakrishnan, Bangalore, India


Unhealed

sitting by the window
making dark deals with the shallow twilight,
venomous promises,
that sear purple welts upon my naked arms;
while the half-light rustles Rumi’s clove scented words;
I will the wind to open a page,
a random vial of bitter antidote,
his robes whirl white against the glowing slate,
drunk on the wine of an ingrown truth;

but mystic water cannot drown
the endless thirst of a ripped out throat;
so he pours it into fifteen bronze bowls,
his feet skimming their tones,
a jal-tarang of buoyant rapture;
I stare at his wing tipped soles,
waiting for the bruises
where his toes turn over the silent waves;

he can’t negotiate with a dim hour
that is devouring the last of the sun,
cueing the ungracious night,
that lacerates those wounds
with its purple tongue,
its five-edged crystal teeth,
drawing chimeras
with granite eyes and blue poisoned veins
and scaly pink legs
dangling in circular swamps of wine;

perhaps only the new day can heal,
grinding its jaundiced sunshine
into a turmeric poultice,
scratching into my burning eyes,
the camouflaged mediocrity
of an unreal morning;
filling shapeless bags of shade
with secret talismans-
the sigh of a poem,
the lilt of a wave,
the arch of a spotless foot;
venomous deals
to haggle with
yet another toxic night


Sherry: I am struck by the line "drunk on the wine of  an ingrown truth." And I love the fifteen brass bowls, and the presence of Rumi felt in this poem. I love the premise in the closing stanza, "perhaps only a new day can heal...." 

Rajani: Sherry, first of all, thank you for featuring my poem here. I am especially delighted to find it alongside the beautiful and inspiring poetry of Bjorn and Kerry. This has been a fabulous forum to share and learn, and I am very glad to be part of this community of poets.


Sherry: And we are happy to have you among us! I am eager for you to tell us the story of this poem.


Rajani: This particular poem mirrors a state of unresolved conflict that sometimes becomes a false bubble of reality, while the world outside that tangle seems unnatural and surreal, even while it offers temporary respite. The outline of the poem came to me one evening as I was reading Rumi's Divan-e-Kebir, a book I reach for often, and then of course it took on a bit of drama, some music and dance and a heap of metaphors, before it was done! I think like most of what I write, it started someplace else and took off on a tangent -all on its own! 

It did sound a little too dark in the end, but maybe as we search for light, we sometimes describe the inside of the tunnels we find along the way!


Sherry: I love when a poem takes charge and leads the way; the poet hobbling along trying to keep up. Smiles. Thank you for this poem and its story, Rajani.


Thank you to each of you fine poets, for your unique voices, and for the way you write poems that help us feel more, see farther, and think more deeply than we might do otherwise. I am so pleased to have had the privilege of featuring each of your poems today.


Wasn't this a meaningful and thought-provoking visit, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next, won't you? Who knows? It might be you!


26 comments:

  1. I am very grateful to appear in such fine company as Bjorn and Rajani. Many thanks for featuring my poem on PU, Sherry.

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    1. It is truly a pleasure, Kerry. I have now read this poem many times, and each time, it impresses me anew.

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  2. Amazing, magnificent poems, all standing tall to shout alone.

    Oh, that my words would echo like these.

    Thank you, Sherry, you have shared some of the best in this craft.

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    1. I'm happy I chose well, my friend. Smiles.

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  3. I'm so honored to have my poem in such great company.. and I loved to write poem inspired by others... it's a very powerful way to write, and actually one of the main reasons for blogging...

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    1. I agree. With the give and take, support and inspiration online, my own work went from a trickle to a flood.........I am so grateful I found all of you!

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  4. Oh My Goodness, such heavy poems, each a call out to the wilderness, two with chains, two with hurt eyes. So much hurt and shattering. So much need therefore for poems that resonate like this. Kerry, I bless you that you were able to voice some of what women's vulnerability to terror is like. And then, of course, a phrase from the last poem I read is still with me:
    "the camouflaged mediocrity
    of an unreal morning"
    And if a terror or an argument or a deep wound is the reality, then what continues as if normal is camouflage so the world doesn't have to see or feel.

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  5. Wow! Powerful poems by my favorite poets. I always spend some quality time by their blogs to feel the essence of words, to be inspired....Thanks for sharing!

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  6. What gifts to find as I enter the poetry blop world again after a long absence makes me feel and think - wonderful result of poetry or any art.

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    1. Victoria, it is always so lovely to see you. I do hope you are still, or will soon again, be writing. Your voice is missed, and you have stories to write! I'm still waiting to feature you, my friend. I have not forgotten. Smiles.

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  7. Kerry and Bjorn have always been an inspiration to Hank for a long time. Rajani came later but is just as brilliant. They extend the poetic language of a higher level difficult to keep pace with. They spice it up with revelations and references to their respective home countries, the icing on the cake. Thank you all!

    Hank

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  8. So much gorgeousness collected all in one place. Sherry, you rock. And these three brilliant poets rock my world. Thank you, all.

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  9. Thank you Sherry, Kerry, Bjorn and Rajani for a wonderful read to start my day. First I had my breakfast, then I came here and devoured this feast!
    I am a great admirer of the work of all three of these poets. But you know how it is, one cannot catch up with absolutely all the wonderful poetry that people in our talented online community are writing and posting – so each of these poems happened to be new to me. What a treat!

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    1. I feel the same way, Rosemary - so many wonderful poems, it is a pleasure to showcase these three exemplary ones, to make sure no one misses the joy of reading them!

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  10. Wow, Sherry! Three exemplary poets all in the same feature. I really enjoyed each of the poems as well as the dialogue with each of the poets. As Hank said, what an inspiration!

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  11. I haven't read Rajani as much as Bjorn and Sherry, however I was blown away by these three poems selected today.
    Such depth of passion drawn into these poems.
    Brilliant selections all three.

    Thanks for today's poems and discourses

    Much love...

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  12. Each poem is a gem to read Sherry ~ Thank you for featuring their work and showcasing their talents ~

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  13. An awesome selection of very visceral, beautifully crafted pieces. Wonderful writing! Thanks for this, Sherry. And to the featured poets: Kudos and Felicitations!

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  14. Thank you all for your very kind comments. Honoured to be featured here.

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  15. It is truly my pleasure, my friends, to shine a little light on the wonderful poets in our community. I am so happy you all enjoyed this feature. Smiles.

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  16. I am in awe of all three poets featured~ Bravo, for their voices-as they share with us what moves them to write with such grit. A world of exposure is revealed-as their talents allow us to witness facets of worlds we may never know~
    Thank you, Sherry, Kerry, Bjorn and Rajani!

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  17. What a wonderful mix of powerful poems - and poets...each unique, insightful and engaging..and also three bloggers who are generous and share their thoughts so kindly and wisely on the blog circuit....thank you all!

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    1. That's a good observation, Jae. Three poets who are generous and supportive of other poets on the circuit. Thanks for mentioning that.

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  18. Sherry you do have such a knack for picking the best poems of poets here....3 strong, emotional, piercing the heart poems...thanks for sharing them! All are fabulous poems from the hearts of 3 very gifted poets.

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  19. These are all exceptional poems Sherry. I can see why you said "Wow" after reading each one. These poets all address such deep aspects of life and have writte something very meaningful. Thank you for highlighting them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and feeling each one.

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  20. So Power-Full! What an amazing trio featured here. Thank you, all so much. :)

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