Tuesday 31 January 2012

CONFIDENCE (An Abstract Theory)

I Write My Face
Upon My Age
In Lines
Of Poetry -

I Right My Wrongs
Up On The Stage
For All The World
To See.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
image prompt: red spot II, wassily kandinsky, 1921, magpie tales
poetry prompt: dverse

Monday 23 January 2012

(Lady of) No Fear in the Year of the Dragon

Yesterday found me at the Arts Picturehouse -watching Aung San Suu Kyi in a brief documentary about her early years as a North Oxford housewife, mother of two young sons, trying to ascertain what her true purpose in life would be. Michael Aris, her husband, was the famous Tibetan scholar, Oxford don, figure of importance. And then suddenly, late one night in 1988, the phone rang. Suu's mother had had a stroke. She returned to Burma alone and never left, could never leave, inherited her father's heroism and became mother (Daw Aung San) to Burma. When Michael died in 1999, the military regime persisted in their refusal to grant him entry. He had not seen his wife for an unbearably long time. He had been walking in her footsteps for years, as carefully and diplomatically as possible - she had been walking, and continues to walk, in the footsteps of the Buddha, who sacrificed being with his family, his son Rahula, for humanity.
Perhaps such grace, such fearlessness, can only come with such sacrifice. When, after ten years, Daw Aung San was re-united with her son Kim in 2010, there was such tenderness in her embrace; she held him lightly as though he were the breeze, or a feather. As though she had never held him at all.
But she had. Of course she had.
How does a warrior survive house arrest over decades? How does a prisoner of conscience smile the way she does? Tease and laugh with her people the way she does? I think it must be because she is living up to her father's memory, and because she knows her sons are safe. I think it is because she is a mother.

In the Quiet Land of Burma, where cries are strangled, one flower blooms for all of us.

May the Year of the Dragon bring something wonderful for mothers everywhere. May your children be protected, may your fears be calmed. May your children recognise and be grateful for your sacrifices.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Dissolution of a New Year Resolution

My good intentions
fall woeful
by the wayside;
here a hope, there a plan,
and suddenly
it's 5am

And I am anywhere
but here
and the birds have begun
to chirp
and the sky begins
to lighten

And I am a traveller
on a new dirt road
with a blue blue sky
and no alibi;

and only my good intentions
to stand me by.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
Do you make New Year Resolutions? One of mine was to sleep early, respectably early. But how? There are books to be read, and curling up at night to read is a source of great comfort and pleasure to me. So the other resolution. To be a better human being. I shall try my best with that one.
Image prompt at bluebell books

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Moving Plates

The perfect home
has something sentimental
resting side by side
with the practical.

Everything a meaning,
a memory,
a moment - even the broken,
the chipped china,
but especially the hand woven
crochet craft work
and the little notes
you write yourself -

you leave for us
a forget-me-not trail
winding all the way
to 1939
when the plates
          of your atlas
moved forever.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
image prompt from poets united
inspired by Annette Rowntree-Clifford, who was forced to leave Germany and all that was dear when the war broke, and much that was precious was lost forever.

Friday 6 January 2012

Flight of a Yellow Winged Umbrella

I like the small flights
from here to just there,
Manageable -
This is how we learn
to believe,
One small step
at a time;
One small step of success
and suddenly I
am a pirate
commandeering a fleet

and I shall try to be gentle
and I shall try to be sweet ~

but my sails are billowing
and my confidence is growing
now that I am standing
on my two feet.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
Image prompt: bluebell books

Sunday 1 January 2012

Sea Changes and Red Threads

The sea blew away
my identity

without asking -
the sea knew me,

stormed in
without asking -

and I gave in

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
The sea was at high tide along the Gold Coast of Australia, in the last days of 2011, but we were permitted to let the waves buffet us between two red flags. The salt sea spray scraped away eons of my past life. It is 2012, and I am experiencing a steady bliss, an endless river of joy; the monk David Steindl-Rast describes this joy as 'that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens'.
I catch myself in moment after moment thinking 'This is it. This is where I have always longed to be.'
Not just reunited with both my brothers, but meeting, at long last, my beloved artist friend Jeanne-ming Brantingham, who fascinated and riveted us with tales of the red threads that connect her to a precious life. I am one of those threads now, and will hold on carefully.
I wish us all a quietly joyful year, but every year seems to peak and trough, so if this is as good as it gets, that is alright by me!

Image of Marilyn Monroe courtesy Magpie Tales