Caribbean Literary Salon Blog VI

Parataxonomy and Optical ambition

Microscopy of mountain land

ascospores sizes of all fertile crusts

slides and cover slips

ascus photomicrographs neatly

measured by graticule

each volcanic island, measured and compared

Vincent versus Lucia, unequal effort provides history for each hypothesis

a species concept for insularity

in the tropical heat, Soufriere’s whiff in a cauldron of lichenological creativity

Dominica’s thelotremes versus Guadeloupe’s, Martinique versus Grenada

An Atlas for a young intellectual’s eyesight.

Attached to a tree

Crustose blade attacks

Sovereignty transferred to a museum sector

types and standards measured immaculately

the taxonomic exploration for an island,

one genus and family at a time,

foretold in forests.

[On the scientific ambition of many years work]

The Dunsany’s Ending

Charon rowed his Pirogue mirthlessly across the Styx

The dull pains in his athletic arms ached and

his face grimaced at each passanger like they both had

for thousands of years of time.

The routine of fifty souls from the island a day had increased for a month

to thousands and then declined to almost none.

In a week without calls for crossings, his time weary aches eased and he thought

‘The ways of the gods of this time on the island were strange’

At the end of the journey across, one shadowy soul whispered

‘I am the last’. Charon concentrated on the final strokes ashore,

and with a withering swish of his oars, Charon smiled at him.

[After Lord Dunsany’s prose poem Charon, 1910]

Sundown at Marigot (continued)

Heat that warms your bones

Incandescent backbone aches melt away,

earlobe breezes startle irregularly,

your shadow shades the grass, denies them some evening pleasure

as a cloud crosses to melt the shadows away

Grass blade quivers, waiting until the fall of day

Look back at grey clouds, absorbing the sunlight like a sponge

fluffy and hey, I need to get back to Marigot some day

Pacing around, pencils clipboard bound

with a luminous brightness the clouds will release thee soon

while I wait, a few drops hiss on the hair on the back of my knuckle,

and others miss in their entireity

Mew heat to keep the spirit flowing

and calm, warm and glowing

would the clouds ever part

and give me a new blast from Icarus’ Inferno

to melt the waxes on skin

that a few moments ago I was sunbathing in.

Pacing works, movement allows

the reassignment of sun to your back

exercise and territorial tresspass

allow your shadow to shade the road

greenery released to double one’s pleasure.

May the tarmac boils subside while I am outside

getting a penetrating fourth verse

of a submission to Saint Somewhere

as a cloud whimsys away across

a blue azule backdrop.

For eventually I will get to Marigot

On one fine evening

The bone heats and ear sweats dribble,

while the draught of the tipple burns away at the gullet

as there is a verse to do.

May the sunshine in Marigot this evening

as I imagine it to.

[First verse posted on CLS,  September 2012]

This is not a Mosquito

In Bed with Byron, writing in pencil

children are safe and the wit is instead.

Hail fair mirror where is dost cobweb

above your head saliently moved above the head board

preserved but moved acting with coughs similarly

tucked up in bedlam

the fly makes it across

Rain on the roof, a squib of a shower, the pencil chop sticks

alternate points keeping the writer hewn close to the sharpener

Oh – where is this going, this errant verse

matress sprung knuckles bouncing pencils crossed above

sprung in cotton, comfortable in bed

exhale what cotton what crisp comfort against the skin

a parable of a poet watching a fly traverse towards the cobweb

and exit stage left.

banded abdomen of a nematoceran fly with haltomeres

a dipteran cigar now rests on the sloping ceiling

in for the night as far from the light as is safe

knuckles spring thud in between the beat of the lines

writing is all in the head

what emerges on paper is just that, if it is let flow,

short words selected by texting

the little ways of saying shortly instead. Not a Mossie.

Longwinded maybe but longworded no

it is the style of the composition

that what you are used to allows

why don’t you write in Patois

and let us hear that voice

subsumed with explosive friccatives rupturing through your lips

It is hard to imagine the sound in a sweet carib voice

without the shortened syntax to go with the reading out loud.

The voice is so distinctive

it must have a metrical metre

to turn those ears around.

hark, listen to the phone conversation in the far room

drawing to an end in agreement over earlier daily rows

why does a fan of verse

worry how it will turn out

when all that matters is getting it written

and let others figure what it is about

writing a poem, some say,

this will do, hey

Number the page in the beginning

crosssed pencil slip in an extra s

excessm this metrical metre has

a caribbeanness, composed for a salon of salubriousness

where comment is stiffled by literary politeness

while a few rauckous members sribble away, posting notices of their output.

The reader counter is addictive

maybe you have to read it twice

we are all inveterate readers no matter what it is about !

Oh what whimsical fantasy is going to emerge

from this session of scribing

I must post my Dunsany

a place in the county of Meath

a poem with a chilling ending of a civilisation

Where is the draft I have written

dropped carefully on the floor by the bed

pencils write vertically while biros are disastrous in bed

What do you do when you run out of paper,

to put the composition in the writers atellier

a quick raid from the printer, keeps us going ahead

The rhythm of the writing to keep everything going smoothly along

rushing down the page in a different way,

puts the ache in the arm rather than on the hand grip.

The sound of the paper is thinner,

now that I have reached the last page

There are opposite sides to be covered

if one needs to go on.

The sound of scribing is a tonic to the soul before sleep

let us type it in in the morning and let us see where we get

encouragement is unnecessary for one with a voice

but welcome when it is not given in jest

for what a poet needs is just some acknowledgement

a few readers smiles as you struggle along digesting this

[Vikram Seth’s novel ‘Golden Gate’ is masterclass in prose poetry]

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