Thursday, 4 January 2007

Malindi Beach

Even now, my chitenje smells of the beach,
that particular beach,
like your shirt I used to sleep with
smelt of you ten weeks after you had left.

I can still see the mountains
across the lake, blurring
into distant blue
or leaping sharply
into focus
depending on the light.

Side by side on the scented beach,
we watched the sun sink
and glow worms write
love poems in morse.

Ten years on,
memories of you are elusive
as the mountains,
indecipherable as code.

chitenje is the cloth worn by women in Malawi
This poem was previously published in my pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing


Brian said...

I have never been to Africa, but your poem transports me there. There is a scent that comes through the words, and a brightness of air.

gel said...

I enjoy how easily your poems flow and describe the scene(s) and feelings. You weave the senses together very well so I feel as if I'm there and often as if I'm in your skin, or what I imagine that to feel like. Thank you for defining the garment.

It's interesting which senses stir memories and when.

Rurality said...

Very evocative! It made me remember finally getting rid of the last thing that smelled like my ex... haven't thought about that in a while.

Novel Nymph said...

OMG...what an STUNNING poem. I loved that you mentioned the chitenje right away. So casual, even though I did not know what it was...The rest of the stanza made it not even matter--thanks for including the definition on the bottom.

love poems in morse code, just stunning...

Dennis said...

This is delightful. I especially like how the far off images pull you toward them. The sense of longing is just so deep here.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Yes, that was wonderful! I love learning new things through poetry- I didn't know what a chitenji was either but it made my imagination swirl!

Mike Mc said...

Very nice. I especially like the way the ending ties the loose strings back together.

Pauline said...

How concentrated and universal at once - a wonderful poem of love and loss and yearning.

Poet with a Day Job said...

This is my favorite:

"we watched the sun sink
and glow worms write
love poems in morse"

so beautiful, having that image in my head, though I have no idea how it is possible...

Natalie said...

A clever link between the morse of the glow worms and the undecipherable code of his memories. Nicely written.

liz elayne said...

the senses are alive in this poem as the memory takes them there...beautiful.

the image of the glow worms writing made me smile...

L. Monique said...

Like most others, I loved learning a new word, and I wish I could find glow worms to write love poems in morse. Wonderful!

my backyard said...

This reminds me of an old boyfriend.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

This poem is filled with imagery and reflection ... so wonderful. JP

chiefbiscuit said...

Oh I just love this - it deftly brings the beach and memories together in an evocative, completely charming (in its truest sense)way.

Jone said...

I am there. I love how ten weeks moves to ten years. There are just certain moments in our lives that are never forgotten. I see the glow worms writing in morse. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

hm interesting. you like poetry but also are interested in art.

thanks for dropping by..

i'm novice in poet, but i try :-)

enjoy bag-of-words


Crafty Green Poet said...

Thajnks for all your comments - chitenje is something that can't be translated really - glad you thought it worked in the poem!

himavant - thanks for the link.