The Undisputed Queen

The full moon earlier this month was just amazing. At my meditation time, it was positioned in the small space between our two rooftops…so perfect! Here are my thoughts and some photos of that beautiful night.

full moon 2

Such a gorgeous Full Moon tonight

full moon1

Although I see the clouds have stolen her thunder

full moon 3

Hmmm… The clouds have been dismissed!
The moon’s envy knows no bounds

full moon 4

Curtains are rapidly drawn
Like veils over alluring houris
Even the stars did not dare
Now the undisputed queen of night sky
Completely alone
Alone….but complete

***

More Moon photography and poetry in these posts:
something old, something new 
Moon Light

 

seek…

Here is a thoughtful interaction between myself and @DeDarkPassenger on Twitter. It is all about seeking, and I for one learnt a lot from it.

He who seeks, finds…

He who seeks
Shall be found

Found by whom?

Himself….
?

Either it is too deep or it is quite complicated.

(I think the answers lie within ourselves)
and we searched
and we prayed
… but it was ourselves we found

Agreed!

Glad you understood what I was trying to say 😊

You are good at explaining complex philosophies.

I have good teachers 🙏

That’s it.

***

Yep, that’s it. Thanks so much @DeDarkPassenger for this interaction and for allowing me to share it here.

seek

seek…
…and you shall be found

 

Image Credit

The Padre’s Shroud

This is a follow up to my mythical figure assignment The Mystic of Mackinnon Road and here I had to be an object in the myth.

The Padre’s Shroud

beside my bold silk of silver finery
they kneel, murmur, plead, chant

bargaining with elaborate promises
hope drenched whispers, ituri
filters through to your kaburi

do you hear their prayer, i wonder
at the blush of dawn, life so still
i feel, a stirring beneath me

awaken my pir, my padre
upon tracks
devoured by rust
seasoned with dust
the early train nears. decelerates.

***

ituri – perfume
kaburi – grave
pir – holy man

Mackinnon road

***

Previous poetry workshop assignments are:
Do You Remember?
A Land, Broken
Rearranged
The Importance of Being an Object
Red Stilettos, and a Pair of Shoes
Wallowing

the lost art

i felt it only appropriate to recite this poem. (hope you enjoy my experiment)

the lost art ~ recited by sonya kassam

do not look for stories
that live forever
between the pages of books
tales that hide in the heart
are conveyed orally
oft-repeated
with a rising tone
or hushed words
poetic rhythm, commanding attention
meandering through a chain of generations
eager listeners round a bonfire
or huddled in a cramped room,
congregation
simultaneous sighs as
eyes captivate, words fascinate
enhanced by gestures
thoughts cross-pollinate
through the revival of a fading beauty
the lost art
of story-telling

***

we each have a story within us
go tell your story

The Mystic of Mackinnon Road

Mackinnon Road train station lies along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway near Mariakani town. The most outstanding landmark here is the Mackinnon Road Mosque that was built as a result of the tomb of Seyyid Baghali, who was a foreman at the time of building the railway fabled for his tremendous strength and according to many, charmed lifestyle.

Travellers, regardless of religion or colour have been making stop overs at the shrine long before independence and are pulling up at the sight to this day.

Legend has it that Baghali was a saint whose family tree traced back to the Holy Prophet, a fact that he tried to conceal from the public to no avail. For when he got tired of carrying stones, his ‘laden karai’ (vessel) would float above his head to the consternation of many.

By 1940s, when the grave was still covered in bushes, travellers would stop there and ask for boons and generally attribute their safety during their journey to the holy man buried at the tomb. The news spread, a legend started and a reputation of the place grew.

People later claimed that Baghali would communicate with man-eaters (lions) who were terrorising the Indian workers and order them to relocate saving the lives of his colleagues.

Read more at: The Mosque that Serves all

 

The Mystic of Mackinnon Road

veiled by bougainvillea within sacred alabastrine walls
travellers pause, seek fragrant blessings for onward journeys

the iron snake tracks through unforgiving terrains
yet you walk as though treading on rose petals
stone laden karai floats over you in reverence, a halo?
the python consents to your prayers
even the man-eaters daren’t cross perimeters

forgive my impertinence
my persistence, my obstinance
O Mystic of Mackinnon Road, I discovered

a secret divine within the Lunatic Line’s shrine…
those who dare transcend the limits of possibility
remain indifferent to accusations of insanity

***

This was a very difficult poem to write. Would have never considered writing it, except that it was an assignment which was due for our workshop of creating poetry with local content. In researching, I came across interesting new stories and people.

I remember stopping at Mackinnon rd mosque whenever we travelled to Mombasa by road, even the public buses and train would hoot or whistle and slow down to pay their respects and be assured of a safe journey.

Syed Baghali was known to understand and speak the language of animals. On one occasion, when the working party was around the area of Mackinnon,  a huge python appeared. It was ready to strike at anyone who dared to approach it. Some of the labourers and one of the Englishmen got ready with their lathis (sticks) and gun to shoot it.

Pir Baghali begged them not to harm the python. He faced the snake and pleaded with it to leave. The snake stood for a while, poised to attack, but shortly after, it gradually backed down and slithered away.

It is said he also kept the lions away and the labourers in his camp remained safe.

~Excerpt from the book Oral Literature of the Asians in East Africa by Mubina Hassanali Kirmani and Sanaullah Kirmani

Read also about The strange history of the man-eating lions of Tsavo

You will enjoy this wonderful Photo Essay on the Lunatic Express

When I remember Kenya, I will think of trains. Not because I saw so many of them and not because I travelled in one. But the Kenya the world knows today would not exist except for a rail line that, during its design and construction, was considered such a bad idea it was dubbed the Lunatic Line.

Maybe it was crazy and maybe it was not.

~ A Train Called the Lunatic Express

I just wanted to say a little more about the final couplet in my poem

those who dare transcend the limits of possibility
remain indifferent to accusations of insanity

To break through the self-imposed limits of possibility, to create new possibilities we must step away from our inhibitions and embrace a touch of madness, for

only the insane are truly liberated

And to sign off, here is a delightful song by the very talented and versatile Rahi Bains. I had the pleasure to come across Rahi ji and his music during my research. You will get to see the quaint Mackinnon road mosque in this video, enjoy the song.

 

( Continuation The Padre’s Shroud )

i do not write

i do not write
i imagine on paper
i do not think
my mind relates tales
i do not dream
my existence is maya
i do not share
i speak to myself
you happen to overhear

i do not write
you do not read
you see…
you see only what you want to see

i do not write
i only pray
i only pray to soothe like balm
an antidote to reality’s bite

i am not a writer
i do not write…

***

maya – illusion

About this poem:

I came across an email about Self-Doubt as a Writer and this poem was my spontaneous response….it took about 5 minutes, and those 5 minutes made me feel like I was floating.

UnMeditate

Our poetry group assignment was to create two poems with instructions, one on How to and the other one should be the reverse How Not To…

Here, I am sharing my instructions How Not to Meditate

UnMeditate
 
open eyes, turn your head side to side
blink! bewildered by fuzzy logic
slouch, NTV, KTN, KBC
 
shallow breaths, racing pulse
think! mind sprinting in reverse
yesterday, tomorrow, plan & plan some more
 
long, hot bubbly baths, fragrant
drink! double espresso to go
debate, agitate, unmeditate
***
NTV, KTN, KBC are local TV channels, and I am referring to their news broadcasts here

Of Attachment and Detachment

silence

Attachment may happen in the blink of an eye
Detachment may take a lifetime, or several

Aren’t they exact opposites?
Why then is the effort not the same?

I don’t have a forever to my name
Alone I arrived, alone allow me to depart

I protest against the burden of you
And if need be, I shall sacrifice all my words
As compensation for my freedom

And you shall bear the title of
The One who Silenced the Poet

Image Credit

the butterfly smiles

This poem is dedicated to my younger sister Citele. The world has lost a warm, loving soul who was still full of life. May she rest in ease and we shall always look out for her smile.

Citele Poem

you do not die in death

balloons2
These balloons were released for Citele, RIP dear angel xx

She loved pink and yellow, thus the balloons and the reference to these colours in my poem.