New Feature

Hi everyone,

Just to let you know that I have created an index for all the posts in my blog. You might (re)discover something from the archives. Here is the page Index. Hope you enjoy going through the blog.

And a huge thank you for being part of and helping me create my magical journey.

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Choosing to Live

All I seek is freedom from choosing
To live with options is deceptive
Are decisions really ours
Or is it destiny in disguise

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Listen to me

I have a story to tell
Would you lend me your heart?

I have a poem to recite
Would you lend me your imagination?

I have a song to sing
Would you lend me the space slightly above your skin?

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Between Two

the distance
between two days

the hesitation
between two heartbeats

the silence
between two secrets

the hurt

between two hopes

the insanity
between two illusions

the certitude
between two surprises

the conspiracy
between two coincidences

the weight
between two waves

pay heed
to what lies in between

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Moon Light

Moon…light

Continue reading

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sweet tears

at the point where night bids farewell
she raises her head, crowned
by a pallu of sizzling red, gold
a slender mangalsutra enhances
her slightly inverted neck

the strongest of henna
the darkest of kohl
the boldest of kumkum
a piercing flame from the nath

as ittar fades into memories of
a thousand jasmine buds
crushed in vain

with the gentlest demeanor
she did but bide her time

sweet were her tears
what could she do?
he swindled even the salt from her life

***

pallu – the trailing end of a sari, red and gold are bridal colours

mangalsutra – auspicious necklace of black beads and gold worn by a Hindu woman after her wedding

kumkum – red/vermilion powder used for bindi on the forehead and/or applied in the parting of a married woman’s hair


nath – referring to the nose ring worn by a bride


ittar – perfume made from flower petals

***

It is International Women’s Day and this poem is a (spontaneous) dedication to all the women who understand the crushing of hopes, but never in vain.

***

This poem was inspired by @temporal3‘s prompt on Twitter provided by 
Crane
Crane
Crane
(Raised up by a Crane
Crown of the Crane
Craned her neck)

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falling

falling…
falling…
into a bottomless pit

but wait!
a bottomless pit
is the best type of pit to fall into

falling…
falling…

***

inspired by Sadhguru
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all who wander

not all who wander are lost
not all who are lost want to be found

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World’s End

Hi everyone,

Something different in this post.

I would like to introduce you all to A Tang Poet from Nairobi. This blog is about the Complete Poems of Li Shangyin Interpreted into English by Mark Obama Ndesandjo. At the end of last year, Mark introduced me to Li Shangyin’s poetry and I was so enticed by the poetry itself and also Mark’s interpretations which are written so beautifully. Mark wanted to present the work of the fascinating Tang poet Li Shangyin to a western audience in its entirety. Interestingly, he also looked to integrate his personal observations and meditations on Kenya, China and America using Li Shangyin as a muse, so to speak.

We worked on the idea of creating a blog to achieve his vision and share Li Shangyin’s work.

I am reblogging the post World’s End because I really enjoyed every bit of it and just to share with you how skilfully he has connected different concepts and graced it with his own calligraphy and a beautiful Musical interlude.

We would be very interested to have some feedback about this type of poetry and its interpretation, so go ahead and leave your thoughts at A Tang Poet from Nairobi

Read more about Mark.

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Lake Turkana, Kenya also called the Jade Sea

Once upon a time, in a year I do not want to remember (but long ago), I took a safari tour across Northern Kenya. On a day I also choose to forget, I arrived at the end of the world. Scarped slopes lay accusingly in the distance, behind Lake Turkana. Round-bellied children looked up at me with bittersweet eyes that grew large and soft each time they giggled. By the fishing villages, the jeweled lake spread like liquid silver over the plain, ending in a vast mouth that slowly devoured the rosy red clouds. Trees had fled and boulders and sand wrapped around us like a petrified mist. Countless pebbles, smoothed by eons of erosion, became a handful of dust, slipping through my fingers, like tears of coal. My heart welcomed the sounds of children, but loved even more the indifference and solitude of the dry air.

worlds-end

春日在天涯, chūn rì zài tiān yá
天涯日又斜。 tiān yá rì yòu xié
莺啼如有泪, yīng tí rú yǒu lèi
为湿最高花。 wèi shī zuì gāo huā

At the end of the world, on a Spring day
When the sun sets,
Were the nightingale to sing, imagine its tears
Sprinkling the tallest flowers

***

Musical Interlude: Rachmaninoff Prelude Op 32/10 played by Mark O. Ndesandjo

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s prelude evinces a fatalistic, fins de siècle mood. I recorded this piece in Nairobi last year. If one listens carefully one can hear birds in the garden!

Notes:
Lake Turkana – is the world’s largest desert lake. Lake Turkana sustains the tribes in Kenya’s remote north, but projects upstream threaten its lifeblood. Read more about this in Last Rites for the Jade Sea

About the Calligraphy
春日在天涯,天涯日又斜。莺啼如有泪,为湿最高花。At the end of the world, on a Spring day, when the sun sets. Were the nightingale to sing, imagine its tears sprinkling the tallest flowers. (3 rows, 20 characters, Cursive Cao Script): M.O. Ndesandjo.

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Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

you may try to silence sound
but you could never still vibration
you may make us shed blood, tears
but it will only flavour that essence

how shall you mute us?
how shall you abduct the rhythm in our anthem?
each explosion only lends itself to the reverberation

yes, grief is selective
yes, mourning is a luxury
but recognise that each time
and every time
we shall rise
every whirl represents rotation
how shall you halt the movement of earth?

and
how will you destroy that which has no form?

***

February 16th, 2017 at least 70 people, including women and children, were killed and more than 150 injured in a suicide attack by ISIS on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Pakistan.

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My heart was heavy.

Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177 – 1274) was a Sufi saint, philosopher and poet. He represents love, beauty and togetherness. There is perhaps no other shrine in the country that captures the essence of religious syncretism like the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. In his courtyard, it feels as if the riots of Partition never happened, as if Sindhi Hindus were never forced to abandon their land, as if Christian settlements in Punjab had never been burned after alleged cases of blasphemy. The courtyard of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar represents a different world, a world that once existed but has slowly disappeared outside its confines.

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However even before the echoes of the screams died down, and the last strains of blood could be washed off the courtyard, dhamal began once again on Friday morning. It was like it had never stopped. The world never stops rotating.

Read more
Pakistan suicide bombing: Why ISIS feels so threatened by Sindh’s Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine

A very famous Qawali has been written in honor of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and is called Dama Dam Mast Qalandar. There are countless versions of this song, one of which I shared in my post The Song of the Sufi. It is an anthem of the simple yet highest form of love, which is devotion. Today I share with you another delightful version of the qawali.

Finally, I would like to leave you with the thought that there was very limited and selective outrage over the Sehwan attack. Why do some lives matter less than others?

This poem is the voice of the Sufis, the voice of Qalandaris
It is the voice of everyone who seeks love, togetherness, beauty
This poem is my voice
Let this poem also be your voice
Spread the awareness

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