Am I a monk now?


Okay, it has been clearly established time and again that I am an atheist. I can appreciate someone’s devotion, discipline and faith, but I can’t live with them to watch them do it.

Having said that, I am not religious about being atheist. I do believe that the pursuit of existential questions and morality is a spiritual journey. So, recently, I have been fascinated with Taoism. I read two books: Tao Te Ching (the original text written by Lao Tzu, and of course I am reading an English translation) and Osho’s explanation of the Tao. There were other books that I left because it was too prescriptive for my liking.

I have been thinking about meditating on the poetic texts and what it means to me at a certain point of time, like how I do with poetry. Tao Te Ching really lends itself to that kind of a breakdown. But I wonder if I will intellectualise it too much and miss the point altogether.

Anyway, the reason I am drawn in by Taoism is because it has no personification of the spiritual. “Tao” literally just means “the way.” I thoroughly enjoy the ambiguity of it. It starts with an anarchic claim:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1

I also love that within it, the principle of dialectics, of yin and yang is so strong. It talks about vitality and action but with a sense of passivity. I love its non-violent stance. There are so many socialist undertones that it brings peace to my heart. I also love the idea of “Flow,” which has become the focus of lot of psychology that tries to understand the creative process.

I am feeling contemplative about it but confused if I should write down my thoughts on the 81 chapters, or record them as a creative project.

Unsure but tempted,
tame shewolf.

Exposing Savarna benevolence


Dalit activists and Ambedkarites had faced a lot of backlash from the Savarna media for their criticisms against the reprinting of Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste with an introduction by Arundhati Roy. The media went as far as to misrepresent them by equating them to right-wing goons. This book, Hatred in the Belly, is a collection of essays, speeches and status updates on social media that arose spontaneously in March after excerpts of Roy’s introduction were published in magazines such as Outlook, Caravan and the newspaper The Hindu. Decoding the response of Arundhati Roy to these criticisms (including an open letter by Dalit Camera) exposes her public image of a casteless, secular activist. Though these events may superficially be seen as dealing with only criticisms against Roy, S Anand, and their politics, it is really symbolic of the larger issue of appropriation of Dalit voices. This book represents a diverse group of people, from students, researchers, Dalit activists, writers, to entrepreneurs, etc. who have chosen to speak up from their social location, expertise, and activism. These writings were initially published in Round Table India, a digital media platform that caters to the Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi majority of India.  Now, as a published book, it has become an affirmation of resistance.

Roy is popularly quoted as saying “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” It is amusingly unfortunate to now have the same words ring ironically over the elite writer. The event in question that sparked the debate is S Anand’s publication house ‘Navayana’ reprinting Ambedkar’s undelivered, ground-breaking speech titled Annihilation of Caste [AOC] with annotations and an introduction by Arundhati Roy. The introduction spans 180 pages, more than the actual text itself. The first obvious question raised was- Is this intervention to “re-introduce” Ambedkar even necessary? Ambedkar had first published this speech at his personal cost. Today, Dalit publishing houses and Dalits themselves have kept the book alive in their intellectual culture. The book was already available online for free. It is also cheaply available for around Rs. 45 as a hard copy. In contrast, this annotated version had cost Rs. 525 in its initial release. To add to the mockery, a closer look at the bibliography added to Roy’s introduction reveals that out of the 120 references, half of them are by Savarna authors and less than 15 are by Dalits. A similar pattern can be seen for the references and annotations to the text of AOC itself. In one of the essays in the book, writers James Michael and Akshay Pathak rightly call out S Anand and Roy over this issue as “they do not just appropriate a text, they Brahminise it.” (p. 159) Dalit scholarship is, therefore “deliberately silenced”.

A peculiar but interesting point is raised by Telugu poet and activist Joopaka Subhadra, who is also one of the contributors in this book. The most frequently seen pictures of Ambedkar evoke the aura of a calm, highly-educated man, dressed in western suits and adorning black-rimmed spectacles. Subhadra directs our attention to the picture chosen for Anand’s reprinted AOC’s book cover. She notes how this image of Ambedkar evokes helplessness, and she exclaims “You’ll understand what kind of hatred they nurse in their bellies when you look at this picture.” (p. 108)

AAOC cover

Cover of Annotated version of AOC

 

Gail Ambedkar Cover

Cover of Gail Omvedt’s biography of Ambedkar

Not only does the introduction do injustice to the history of the text and fail miserably to engage with the arguments of the text, it also shifts the reading of the text into a false Ambedkar versus Gandhi debate. There is so much to say about the context of the book, and also its contents. The Jat-Pat Todak Mandal (Society for the Abolition of Caste system), an anti-caste organisation based in Lahore, had invited Ambedkar to deliver a presidential address at its annual conference in 1936. After reading his speech beforehand, the organizers had insisted on deleting and diluting the contents of the text. Ambedkar had refused to even “change a comma”, which resulted in the withdrawal of his invitation. In AOC, Ambedkar speaks against not just the Hindu caste system, but he argues that to break the caste system, it was imperative to destroy the religious notions that it was built upon.  Roy does not delve into these matters too deeply. Instead, there are many instances of misquoting and misrepresenting Ambedkar to frame her own arguments. She cherry-picks his quotes to portray him as pro-eugenics, concerned with the ‘civilising of Adivasis’ and equates his pro-modernity stance to his support for the current neoliberal state. Her focus shifts towards Gandhi and his legacy, and she projects herself as a sole thinker to have caught Gandhi’s bluff. Again, Roy is riding on the arguments that Dalit activists now, and Ambedkar then, have constantly been making in order to expose Gandhi’s hypocrisy. In one of the essays, PhD student Murali Shanmugavelan breaks down these unsubstantiated claims against Ambedkar, and articulately spots what Roy misses, that Gandhi, unlike Ambedkar, posed “no threat to western hegemony”. (p. 180)

Another presumption that Roy makes is that Gandhi’s shadow loomed over Ambedkar. Gee Imaan Semmalar, transman and self-professed Ambedkarite, shows how the inverse was true, where “Dr. Ambedkar thwarted Gandhi at every step, exposed him for the fraudulent reformer he was, led the biggest religious conversion in the history of the world, and gave even his enemies their constitutional and fundamental rights and much more.” (p. 151) Dalit Camera, a media organization that reports on Dalit and Adivasi issues through articles and videos on YouTube, wrote an open letter to Roy amidst the controversy. It had critiqued her minimal level of engagement with AOC, and clarified the stand of the many activists whose viewpoints had been distorted in the mainstream media which was jumping to her defence. It also enlisted 12 questions from various Dalit activists, asking her about the aim for writing this essay, enquiring about the scope for misreading Ambedkar in her introduction and questioning the ethicality in using Ambedkar as a platform to talk about Gandhi. In his essay, Semmalar also analyses Roy’s response to the questions of Dalit Camera. He points out that the self-proclaimed anti-imperialist crusader very consciously writes for a white audience. As part of her justification, she dilutes arguments against her act of appropriation with an arrogant suggestion that “more knowledgeable people should go ahead and write more introductions and that hers is just one among many” (p. 149). She wilfully overlooks how her cultural capital and social location helped her publish the introduction with so much pomp in the first place. While Roy reduces the valid arguments of Dalits over representation to an oversimplified matter of whether only Banias can write about Gandhi; Semmalar turns the tables on her as he asks why she didn’t make a comparative analysis that demystified Gandhi in an introduction to, say, Gandhi’s own book ‘Hind Swaraj’? (p. 146). Roy’s response to these criticisms are weak, haughty and reek of wilful ignorance. If there is one thing an “ally” is expected to do, it is to listen.

There are real consequences to the intellectual and cultural appropriation. It “others” the marginalized community. It trivializes not only the struggle of the oppressed but also the violence of the oppressor. The same things that Roy has spoken for the first time, and that too half-heartedly has been said many times over and in much better ways by Dalit thinkers. Her appropriation of Ambedkar does nothing to bring to light the Dalit struggle. Contributing editor of the Round Table India platform, Kuffir demonstrates how in central universities dominated by the Savarna faculty, Roy’s introduction will be used as a link to Ambedkar, as “they will segregate the original AOC from that book” (p. 73), which basically challenges nothing and reaffirms the Savarna world-view, even as it projects itself as ‘anti-Gandhi’. This real ramification of appropriation only helps prejudices persist. Joby Mathew, an ICSSR Doctoral fellow, brings to the fore Roy’s previous tryst with appropriation and her obsession with Gandhi. In her keynote address for the 150th birth anniversary of the social reformer Ayyankali, Roy had ‘preferably ignored’ the Dalit icon too. Roy’s agenda to pit Dalit revolutionaries with Gandhi limits the discourse over their legacies, and keeps bringing Gandhi forcefully, unnaturally into focus. Mathew also sees this strategy for its unoriginality, as he adds, “a person like Arundhati criticizes Gandhi by using the foundation created by Ambedkarite movements” (p. 201). Roy has been recycling the same arguments over and over again.

Another contributor in ‘Hatred in the Belly’ is the teacher and founder-editor of Insight Young Voices, Anoop Kumar who recognizes the marketing logic of Navayana for what it is- a messiah complex. With no hesitation, S Anand and Roy both proclaimed that their over-priced repackaging of AOC was not directed towards Dalits, but for the upper castes that are yet to read Ambedkar and the western academia “for whom caste is just some exotic Hindu thing” (p. 88). Kumar expresses his pain and contempt over the hypocrisy of this “generosity” that one is supposed to be grateful for, and silently, uncritically swallow. The messiah status that is also reinforced by her fans and the media nexus as it “…provide(s) you (Roy) so much space on issues they care two hoots about” (p. 114), the same space that “is so cruelly denied to us, is shut forever” (p. 113). It is no surprise that appropriation is often seen as unproblematic and harmless. However, in such instances, one can clearly see how a privileged person can be lauded for saying and doing the same thing that the community has been persecuted for. Roy profits from sensationalizing arguments that Dalit thinkers have been ostracised and silenced for. To accept the republication of AOC as a benevolence granted by the Savarna publishers as a means to give Western exposure to Dalit struggle belittles the very struggle.

This book, Hatred in the belly, delves deeply into the politics of appropriation. It deconstructs the title of Roy’s introduction with its symbolism of the doctor and the saint, beginning the text itself on a comparative note. It argues for readers to engage with the pain of the Dalit experience before talking about caste discrimination. It may very well be an instruction on what not to do if you call yourself an ally. In summary, the book successfully manages to connect various angles to the issue- the history of the Brahminisation of subaltern art and culture, the current realities of Dalit publishing and reading spaces, the critical analysis of Roy’s texts and S Anand’s unthoughtful anti-caste farce, and the very real implications on the lived reality of Dalits due to such appropriation. The diversity of the authors in this compilation is symbolic of the diversity within the struggle. The publication of the book is a victory in itself, and a fitting response to the active silencing that the Dalit activists have had to face by the Savarna elites in the media.

I met a rat of culture.


~Jack Prelutsky

 

Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky

I met a rat of culture
who was elegantly dressed
in a pair of velvet trousers
and a silver-buttoned vest,
he related ancient proverbs
and recited poetry,
he spoke a dozen languages,
eleven more than me.

That rat was perspicacious,
and had cogent things to say
on bionics, economics,
hydroponics, and ballet,
he instructed me in sculpture,
he shed light on keeping bees,
then he painted an acrylic
of an abstract view of cheese.

He had circled the equator,
he had visited the poles,
he extolled the art of sailing
while he baked assorted rolls,
he wove a woolen carpet
and he shaped a porcelain pot,
then he sang an operetta
while he danced a slow gavotte.

He was versed in jet propulsion,
an authority on trains,
all of botany and baseball
were contained within his brains,
he knew chemistry and physics,
he had taught himself to sew,
to my knowledge, there was nothing
that the rodent did not know.

He was vastly more accomplished
than the billions of his kin,
he performed a brief sonata
on a tiny violin,
but he squealed and promptly vanished
at the entrance of my cat,
for despite his erudition,
he was nothing but a rat.

 

Before Diagnosis


– Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves

The lake is dead for a second time
this January. And no matter
how many geese lay their warm breasts
against the ice or fly across
its hard chest, it doesn’t break,
or sink, or open up and swallow them.
The ice is frozen water.
There is no metaphor for exile.
Even if these trees continue to shake
the crows from their branches,
my sister is still farther away from her mind
than we are from each other
sitting on opposite ends of a park bench
waiting for evening to swallow us whole.
In the last moments of a depressive, a sun.
In the last moments of a sun, my sister
says a man is chasing a goose through the snow.

Burnt Norton


T S Eliot

I

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

II

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchantment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

III

Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
With slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

Descend lower, descend only
Into the world of perpetual solitude,
World not world, but that which is not world,
Internal darkness, deprivation
And destitution of all property,
Dessication of the world of sense,
Evacuation of the world of fancy,
Inoperancy of the world of spirit;
This is the one way, and the other
Is the same, not in movement
But abstention from movement; while the world moves
In appentency, on its metalled ways
Of time past and time future.

IV

Time and the bell have buried the day,
The black cloud carries the sun away.
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?
Chill
Fingers of yew be curled
Down on us? After the kingfisher’s wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.

V

Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
Always assail them. The Word in the desert
Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
The detail of the pattern is movement,
As in the figure of the ten stairs.
Desire itself is movement
Not in itself desirable;
Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always –
Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.

Intimations of Anxiety


~Laila al-saih, Palestinian writer
translated by May Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye

 

You do not know how hard it is,
transfiguring blood into ink–
emerging from one’s secret dream
to voicing the dream.
Perhaps I need years to understand
what swirls within me when we meet.
Do you know that constellations of cities and paths tangle
restlessly in the sand?
I do not know the name
for such sweet incandescence.
Even now I have not discovered all the stars
fanning out in the soul and body
like eloquent shining symbols.

Under a mass of snow
a violet is patiently waiting.
Each opening rose partakes of
the patience of ages.
There are things we must share,
and how the word takes shape within me.
Pulled between a world that created me
and a vaporous world I wish to create,
I begin again.
Each time you transform me
into a haze,
Wait for my anxiety
for this nameless creature thumping
in my breast.
I begin again
with your book,
from your book,
reading the first pages
over and over, dazzled, amazed,
enveloped by vast days and puzzling depths,
saying: The moment will come
in which I discover language,
voice of the sun’s fruits,
dialect of waves engulfing my heart.
Maybe then I will be able to add
a single syllable to this existence–
this arduous impossible task.

Grandmother’s Lantern


Very few people blog seriously. Even few, take creative writing as seriously.

I have been posting beautiful poems by award-winning and published poets in my “Nerdy Shewolf suggests” section. Today, I gladly add another poet to my collection. This poet, I know. Proudly so.

And I hope to see her work be published someday.

Poet: Sameen and her blog

Grandmother’s Lantern

Beautiful.
It would have been,
and it can be; shall I permit it to.
My existence;
like the solitary lantern that still hangs
on grandmother’s porch.
Its wick as black as the sins they
tell us we’ve committed
on the way to being the lords of moral fiefdom.
Its glass dull like the
cataract in my grandfather’s
left eye.
He never complains and still cycles to
the market to buy raw mangoes
for the pickle she likes to still eat;
even after 66 years of marriage.
We’ve tried to drag him to
the hospital many times, yet
he’d never come. “The world still seems just as
beautiful as it was  75 years ago.”, he says.
Then why not my life? I wonder.
Still the solitary lantern hangs in there; be it
wind, shine or rain,
or even ignorance.
I’m lit once or twice when there’s no electricity
and at times they don’t even strike
a match to my heart.
My grandparents enjoy the moonlight as much as
I do.
Beautiful.
It would have been
and it can be; shall I permit to
be taken off the porch and die a timely death.
Because, sometimes you have to die
to live.
Every summer I visit them; and
it’s still there;
the lantern.
Although not dirtier than before, but a little
older.
You can tell by the way time has passed on it leaving behind
age and imprints like writings in a stray book.
You can tell that relatives have visited
bringing
casual stories about their neighbourhood,
and their orchards.
You can tell that the electricity hasn’t gone for days;
the lantern hasn’t glowed;
its wick is dry; like the guilt of the sins we committed
on our way to becoming lords of moral fiefdom.
You can also tell that grandmother
has been on the porch more often
than usual; she’s been cleaning
waiting
for you to arrive.
You can tell
time has passed over the lantern.
It is wearing out.
Little by little, though.
It still has elders to take care of it.
Would it be the same had it been on its own?
Maybe worse.
Maybe better.
Who knows?
The sunrise is still as bright;
and the sunset is still as beautiful.
Beautiful.
It would have been
and it can be; shall I permit to;
My existence;
like the solitary lantern that still hangs
on grandmother’s porch.
It could have been intelligent.
Was it not? Isn’t it?
If it hadn’t been measuring itself
up against the light bulb, or
the tube light, or
even the sunshine.
It could have had its own charm.
Has it not? Doesn’t it already?
It’s the subject of my poem.
Grandmother’s lantern.
She may not use it often;
but she hasn’t thrown it out.

Willed In Autumn


TRACY K SMITH

The room is red, like ourselves
On the inside. We enter
And my heart ticks out its tune
Of soon, soon. I kneel

On the bed and wait. The silence
Behind me is you, shallow breaths
That rustle nothing. This will last.
I grip the sheets, telling time

To get lost. I close my eyes
So the red is darkener now, deep,
A willed distance that backs away
The faster we approach.

I dream a little plot of land and six
Kid goats. Every night it rains.
Every morning sun breaks through
And the earth is firm again under our feet.

I am writing this so it will stay true.
Go for a while into your life,
But meet me come dusk
At a bar where music sweeps out

From a jukebox choked with ragged bills.
We’ll wander back barefoot at night,
Carrying our shoes to save them
From the rain. We’ll laugh

To remember all the things
That slaughtered us a lifetime ago,
And at the silly goats, greedy for anything
Soft enough to crack between their teeth.

Between Us


By Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani

Between us
twenty years of age
between your lips and my lips
when they meet and stay
the years collapse
the glass of a whole life shatters.

The day I met you I tore up
all my maps
an my prophecies
like an Arab stallion I smelled the rain
of you
before it wet me
heard the pulse of your voice
before you spoke
undid your hair with my hands
before you had braided it

There is nothing I can do
nothing you can do
what can the wound do
with the knife on the way to it?

Your eyes are like a night of rain
in which ships are sinking
and all I wrote is forgotten
In mirrors there is no memory.

God how is it that we surrender
to love giving it the keys to our city
carrying candles to it and incense
falling down at its feet asking
to be forgiven
Why do we look for it and endure
all that it does to us
all that it does to us?

Woman in whose voice
silver and wine mingle
in the rains
From the mirrors of your knees
the day begins its journey
life puts out to sea

I knew when I said
I love you
that I was inventing a new alphabet
for a city where no one could read
that I was saying my poems
in an empty theater
and pouring my wine
for those who could not
taste it.

When God gave you to me
I felt that He had loaded
everything my way
and unsaid all His sacred books.

Who are you
woman entering my life like a dagger
mild as the eyes of a rabbit
soft as the skin of a plum
pure as strings of jasmine
innocent as children’s bibs
and devouring like words?

Your love threw me down
in a land of wonder
it ambushed me like the scent
of a woman stepping into an elevator
it surprised me
in a coffee bar
sitting over a poem
I forgot the poem
It surprised me
reading the lines in my palm
I forgot my palm
It dropped on me like a blind deaf
wildfowl
its feathers became tangled with mine
its cries were twisted with mine

It surprised me
as I sat on my suitcase
waiting for the train of days
I forgot the days
I traveled with you
to the land of wonder

Your image is engraved
on the face of my watch
It is engraved on each of the hands
It is etched on the weeks
months years
My time is no longer mine
it is you

Translated by Lena Jayyusi and W. S. Merwin