The Sun Shifts

sun-2445456

the sun shifts, ever so subtle
only a shadow shall recognise
…. and destiny

and destiny is mischievous

embrace the change
befriend your destiny

***

 

The sun has entered a new phase, the arrival of spring, abundance of harvest, new beginnings.

May your ego be as insignificant as a tiny sesame seed and may your life spread the sweetness of jaggery.

My life seems to be entering a new phase as well and I need all the blessings and wishes I can get :)

I haven’t been writing as regularly as I used to. 2017 was a tough year :( Though I must say that I did try out quite a few new ideas.

I am looking for a job and in the meanwhile I taught myself to set up an online shop. Please do visit Rekindle

If you live in Kenya and you like it, then share it! If you live outside of Kenya and have any friends here (apart from me!) please do share it with them.

 

***

Makar Sankranti is celebrated in India with kite flying, eating ladoos made of sesame seed and jaggery.

 

the end of waiting

girl-with-red-rose-3006434_1920

you said “wait”
and so i did
and so i realised
that you were right
waiting is not a choice

it is all i can do
and if it is all i can do

then at the least,
i must do it well

well enough
for the waiting to finally end

***

I have always struggled with patience.
More about it here Just One Request
and I wondered how to wait in Pratiksha – the Wait.

What you resist, shall persist.

I have done my best not to resist,
and I hope the manner in which I waited
shall now reward me with the end of waiting.

***

Inspiration: Sadhguru

 

my breath and i

meditation

to be in that space
long disregarded by time
untouched by memory
spiralling in unimagination
even god should not dare
my breath and i
or even not i

***

I have completed over a year of my daily breathing/meditation practise. It has surprised me…pleasantly :) never imagined I could be disciplined enough. I gifted my meditation chair a new cover. Have a look

IMG_20171113_193753 (1)

Image credit

Just One Word

For the past few days I had been struggling to find the words to express what we are going through as a nation. In less than 3 months we have had elections, nullified them, another election, boycott of elections, police brutality, protests, demonstrations, a nation divided, economic slow down and uncertainties. It was difficult to write and wished I could find just one word…and then I did. In fact I found several one words and made poems using letters derived from just one word. I was amazed at how much I could convey even with the restricted structure.

Inaction

Inaction (is)
In Action
Act (my)
Nation
***

Silent

Silent
Lent
Lies
Si(gh)
***

Doublespeak

doublespeak
bleak
do speak
lead
***

Indistinguishable

indistinguishable
anguish
sting
gun
unstable
disable
bled
bled
bled
dead….
….distant
***

Democracy

Democracy: the Demo version has expired
install now the Mockery

***

These tweets tell a story…

 

***

Featured Image Credit: @BrianInganga

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.

The Worth of a Conversation

A fascinating conversation on Twitter between myself and @coldtusker (CT). Such interactions enhance the meaning and perspective of my words, so thanks for your questions CT!

Let us then face each other
You enhance me
For what is the worth of a star
Without her planets and moons?

Plenty, no?

what is the worth of a hero without his admirers
and a god without his worshippers?

Intrinsic worth?

Mostly yes. But the inner state will certainly be reflected off the surface.
(My 2 cents)

Isn’t a reflection generated by the light of others? One can radiate their inner being but reflects others light/radiance.

Yes! Which is why a star needs the planets and moons. You may have just answered your own question 😉

Why aren’t all these little snippets on your blog?

I was just about to ask for your permission to include our conversation… Please 🙏
BTW the original tweet was from my poem North of your Soul

Yes, you may. Should I have any hopes of receiving a chq for royalties?

One should never live without hope 😃

***

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our conversation. Perhaps one day CT shall receive his royalties :)