Friday, 7 January 2022

THE TIME MACHINE

 




I wish I could go back,

into the future,

and meet my Dad

when he was little, says Raf.

 

You can, I say, when you’re older.

Meaning transcendental meditation.

 

Oh, somebody made a time machine?

Excited now. Hopeful.

No, but you can do it

with your mind. You can do

 

anything with your mind, I say, 

having learned this the slow way.

 

Not like Raf, who is learning

gifts with speed – 

his seven-year-old self

unrecognizable from mine.

 

And my brother, meeting him –

a father, in a different time. 


Shaista Tayabali, 2018


I wrote this poem when Raf was seven, and we were milling about the tiny Indonesian eco island of Nikoi, thinking about big things like time travel. I haven't travelled since that summer, and most of us haven't travelled for two years now... so as we embark upon Year Three of The Pandemic, I thought this would be a hopeful poem to share. The photograph below is in 'Lupus, You Odd Unnatural Thing', in black and white. I asked Raf's permission to use it in my book. 'Of course,' he said. 'Why are you even asking me?' But I was trying to be respectful - after all, a baby then, a ten year old now, will one day be a grown man... maybe even 'a father, in a different time.'






photographs taken by I. Tayabali
poem participating in DVerse Poets community Open Link Night...

11 comments:

ain said...

I found this to be really intricate, mystical, heartwarming and inspiring..beautiful

Ingrid said...

This is so beautiful: I love the idea that he will learn to time-travel one day. And I love having these types of conversations with my kids :-)

Lucy said...

Wow, I really, really adore this. It's so heartwarming and it brings me back to the type of hope I had when I was a kid; makes me think back to that endless curiosity that's both beautiful and bewitching in the way it communicates the intricacies and hope within a child's mind.

scotthastiepoet said...

Excellent and telling juxtaposition here between age and youth - you capture the essence of the poignant joy of being here Shaista... I'll be back for more...

robkistner said...

Love your reachin’ high for a great OLN, bravo Shaista! 🙂✌🏼❤️

Mubashshira said...

This is incredibly beautiful! I love the idea of a conversation in a poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ah, this is so lovely. What an old soul Raf appears to be, contemplative even as a baby. Those eyes! I love your family so much. If I could go back in time, I'd plan to be adopted into the group. Smiles. I am nearing the end of your incredibly wonderfully written book, Shaista. It deserves a very wide audience. How can we make that happen?

Mish said...

Engaging layers of thoughts and dialogue. A child's mind is so open...it's a beautiful thing when we help fill it. :)

Shaista said...

I love the idea of conversation in poetry too @Mubashshira! That’s why I love Billy Collins …

Shaista said...

Thank you @robkistner - a nice beginning to the year, calling on time gone, time to come and also time that can never be, except in memory or imagination …

paeansunplugged said...

This is lovely! Conversations with kids can be so enlightening.

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