Sunday 29 April 2012


All day long,
the ceaseless rain;

All day long
the sweet refrain:

He walked this way, once,
surely, we will meet again?

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012 

A poet wrote - 'The tears I shed yesterday have become rain'. These past few days, England has seen more rain than she usually does at this time. While the gardens are joyful, the storms wreak havoc in people's lives. A few days ago marked the passing of someone very special, and the rain echoes the tears of those he left behind. But everyday, for a brief spark, a ray of sun pours through and suddenly, the world is clearer, brighter, lovelier than ever.

images from here and here

Friday 20 April 2012

Where Do My Poems Go?

While I have come to know, recognise and love the readers who comment regularly on my blog, I cannot help but be curious about Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg and Barreiro, Setubal. I am most particularly fascinated by Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha! Who, I wonder, are you?

It is such a pleasure knowing, thanks to blog widgets and gadgets, that Tangerang, Jawa Barat and Petaling Jaya, Wilayah Persekutuan visit me regularly. But such a mystery too, about you, Damascus, Dimashq, you, Braintree, Massachusetts, and you, Floirac, Aquitaine.

Perhaps a mystery you shall all remain. But today I want to thank you from San Antonio, Texas to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, from Arak, Markazi to Bernardsville, New Jersey, from Atlanta, Georgia to Battle, East Sussex. Never was geography more pleasurable than here and now, with my poems arriving on your computer screens. Thankyou for reading me, all of you.

Wednesday 18 April 2012


Her face always existed,
the poetry came later;

When the leaf finally fell,
his heart bounded to catch her.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2012
Red Roofs by Marc Chagall, courtesy magpie tales

I love the stories flung into Marc Chagall's paintings - always something new and fascinating to discover. There are love stories here, odes and supplications, but arcing over everything, a tree, a forest. Which is how I niftily weave in the fact that, on retreat, I took my five mindfulness trainings, and, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh's lineage, was bestowed with the name Radiant Forest of the Heart :) I think it is a good name... forests are lovely, dark and fathomless, lit inside by wild, magical creatures  - I can work well with such a name! Pure Ocean Heart or Perfect Serenity might have been slightly harder to live up to!!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Catching the Flower

The flower wants
to be seen
for a while

Because the flower
she will die. 

I wrote these lines while sitting with Thay Thich Nhat Hanh, and wishing for his eyes to fall on me, and acknowledge my presence. All things are impermanent but occasionally, when a dream is coming true, you want it to be perfect. And it was - twice I sat in the front row during the dharma talks, and Thay, who speaks softly, asked us to come closer, sit closer. We obliged with great alacrity! I could not believe my good fortune. Right beneath the Zen Master's feet! If he had thrown the flower, I would have caught it. Except he wouldn't throw a flower.

I am home now, and everything looks even more beautiful, more vividly clear, after six days of mindfulness energy harnessed by nearly 900 Buddhas-to-be. The young monastics, who are all charming and savvy, joked that they have no Indian nuns as yet. There is a space available for me... What do you think? I wonder what sort of nun I would make. Hopeless, probably. I'd be like Maria in The Sound of Music - always on her knees in confession for something or other!

She climbs a tree
And scrapes a knee
her dress has got a tear;
She waltzes on her way to Mass
and whistles on the stair;
And underneath her wimpole
she has curlers in her hair -

I've even heard her singing in the Abbey!
How do you solve a problem like Shaista-a-a??

Thursday 5 April 2012


For the next week I shall be away on retreat in Nottingham with Thich Nhat Hanh and the monks and nuns of Plum Village. I shall be practising mindfulness, which is best described thusly...

Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment, aware of what is going on within and around us. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower. Practising mindfulness cultivates understanding, love, compassion and joy. This practice helps us to take care of and transform our suffering in our lives and in our society.

As a creative type, I do find myself soaring to the heights and dashing to despair every now and then, so it will be wonderful to practise the middle way for a while. Meanwhile, at home, the dear parents shall have an equally peaceful time without their tempestuous poet underfoot. I wonder what they will do in my absence... Grin and bear it, rather too well, I suspect :)