Friday, 15 November 2013


My eyes dance,
my soul trembles
my nerves collapse under the strain -
I close my eyes,
the dancer whirls,
I seek her limbs in vain -

Hold on to me! I cry,
but she will not settle down
She scintillates and obfuscates -
until, exhausted, dissipates
and I am sane and still again,
and I am sane once more.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2013

I wrote about my scintillating scotomas two years ago (I called that poem Firework in My Eyes). Once, it happened just before my nephew's baptism, while I was in the church and all I could do was hold on to the chair and trust that I would see again. They begin as spots of flickering lights which devour my visual field in shimmering arcs or teichopsia (from the Greek for 'town hall' because of the zigzagging patterns of fortified walls)... 'Don't look at the light,' suggested a doctor. As well tell me 'don't breathe'. How can I survive without looking at light? The scotomas are temporary events. They pass, and I am left with a classic migraine with aura. Is it neurological? Is it cardiovascular? Or simply rotten luck?
To be a writer, you have to write. The words take time to form themselves. I am trying to write, trying to earn my place, but I am struggling so much to keep the faith. I am never lost entirely to self pity, but I do fear uselessness. As a daughter of artists, however, there is one anchor I use to keep myself afloat: in all the murk, I am always able to determine colour. And that thought cheers me even as I swipe at the dervishes to keep still...

All paintings by Degas, but the first prompted by Magpie Tales


Cloudia said...

Bless you with years of wonderful things to see, dear fiend

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

Oya's Daughter said...

I know someone on Twitter who is blind, has only one arm, and cannot walk - she makes the most incredible ceramic art. She cannot see, but she can FEEL in more ways than one. This doesn't mean of course that she doesn't despair - she most certainly does. But useless? Never that.

Your words will dance regardless of whether you can see them or not. As long as you can get the words down, they will spin lovely arabesques for as long as you wish them to.


Marcoantonio Arellano said...

the challenges you have make your words only so much more precious

to echo Oya's Daughter your words will dance even in a darken room

ds said...

I second Marcoantonio. And may you always have color...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my friend.......I echo what everyone here has said. And your words DO always dance, no matter what is going on.

Nose_in_a_book said...

Beautiful poem. Please hold on to hope. You create beautiful things, and that is always a valuable thing.

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