Thursday, 22 March 2007

After Sunset Lake Malawi

Sunset a memory in red edged clouds
patterned across dull indigo sky.
Darkness is settling on village and lake –
it’s time for night fishing to start.

Dug-out canoes since centuries ago
have fished this great Lake Malaŵi
luring the fish from the depths to the nets
catching food for the nation.

The fishermen shout from boat to boat
incomprehensible hints and instructions,
stories from ancient mythology,
the latest football scores.

Black silhouette boats against blackening lake
process with lamps glowing brightly,
each light is reflected in shimmering sparkle,
broken patterns on rippling swell.

Above, Seven Sisters and Southern Cross
shine down on the lake’s constellation,
black sky and black water meet in communion
and dug-out canoes become stars.

This poem was published in my pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing and is a companion piece to this painting here.

Poetry and Images for Poetry Thursday


Norma said...

This is lovely--I feel the ancient history and ancient customs pressed against the coming changes with just the slightest hint in "football scores," slipping in under cover of darkness.

My PT is up. said...

I liked this piece, the slow procession of it. And I like the use of the word process though I had to double-take on that word to get it to be the right usage (prow'-cess instead of prah'-cess).

One edit I suggest is in the fourth line. Cut "to start" and have the line be, "it's time for night fishing." The shortened line ends the introductory stanza and produces an extra breath, a pause, at the end of that stanza before we begin the meat of the description.

It's a lovely piece and what I like best is that it creates the image so that I have no need to look at the painting. It's already been painted in my head.

Anonymous said...

The images are so clear. This poem has motion, it moves and reveals traditions even as the night cloak covers the water.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for your comments. bgfay thanks for your suggested alteration, if this were a newer poem I would probably agree with you, but this poem is old and set in concrete in a sense, I can't imagine changing it at all....

Clockworkchris said...

Hi CGP, wonderful poem. So much imagery. Loved the line "Above, Seven Sisters and Southern Cross
shine down on the lake’s constellation"

Drizel said...

I can just see the elements of new and old, and their strength in what they do. Wonderful Imagiry...really appreciate this piece:)

Tammy Brierly said...

Wonderful images and the football scores brought reminded me of time. I saw night fishing on Kauai and thought it beautiful under a full moon. Excellent!

Emily said...

This reads almost like a painting. I agree, that football scores caught my attention and sent me back re-reading. I like that this doesn't take place in ancient times.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful description, I felt myself sinking into the poem, feeling like I was right there with the fishermen.

Yes, the juxtaposition of ancient mythology and the latest football scores is perfect. I also really like the last two lines, especially "and dug-out canoes become stars".

strauss said...

Black silhouette boats against blackening lake
process with lamps glowing brightly,
each light is reflected in shimmering sparkle,
broken patterns on rippling swell

I love that verse so much. It took me to Lake Malawi in the night.

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to echo clockwork - love the Seven Sisters and Southern Cross line and final stanza. Nice work!

Left-handed Trees... said...

"dug-out canoes become stars" surrounded by all of the "black" was just lovely...

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Very visual piece--I particularly liked the lights on the fishing boats becoming stars when the line between the darkness of the water and the sky vanishes. Good work!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

PS I really like the painting, too!

Catherine said...

Several people have already commented on the football scores - I agree, I love the touch of modernity it brings. You are privileged to have spent time in this place - it must have been a wonderful experience

Kimberley McGill said...

"stories from ancient mythology,
the latest football scores." I love the feel of this poem - nature, ancient past, modernity all blended together to create something beautiful

Kamsin said...

You paint a beautiful picture with your words.

Jessica said...

I too love the combination of football scores and mythology -- such a perfect way to encapsulate this image.

Anonymous said...

nice descriptive poetic response
I enjoyed that this accompanies your own artwork for this PT prompt.

Jone said...

This is such a great line: "black sky and black water meet in communionand dug-out canoes become stars". Lake Malawi must be an amazing place. Thank you for commenting about blogging on my post.

Tina said...

Lake Malawi is miles and miles away from little Minnesota and, yet, with this poem, I can envision it so clearly. You write so eloquently; the descriptions are perfectly placed.

Anonymous said...

"Night fishing" — that in itself amazes me. Such a strong poem, and your relating their work to mirroring the night sky shows how much we are a part of nature (whether we want to accept it or not).

I'm glad to be introduced to your poetry and your painting.