Archive for March, 2021


an oldie: The African Rains

The African Rains.

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,
even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

adrift …

a cast-away,
swept by raging currents,
adrift on so many  streams.

an outsider,
scarred by jagged rocks,
gasping for air beneath rapids.

a lost traveller,
seeking a shore of solace,
between decades being flotsam.

my journey,
all endless wanderings,
as rootless as the shattered twig.

my future,
a mirage of hope,

tight fists of trepidation,

seeking not much,
but to clutch onto,

filaments of elusive hope …

Sentinels.

Sentinels.

Behind the barricades, tucked away beyond the layers of the impregnable buffer,

secreted in the unshakeable edifice, hewn deep into the rock of solitude,

countless thoughts blur, hazily scurrying past,
adrift on the breeze, yesteryears embers that cannot last.

These embers, these flurries of memory, escape high above the ramparts of this fortress of stunted, shackled thought,

fleeing the fears, the tears streaming down eyes unblinking, eyes devoid of light, eyes rendered blind, leaving grainy photographs etched in the receding mind.

All these memories, this nostalgic tugging, sewn into the detritus of what was once beloved, of what was once dear and true,

all those sun-kissed moments, once woven by infinite tendrils of hope, lie strewn here and there, and everywhere in between, all those dreams now merely flotsam and jetsam, thrashed upon the waves of the ocean so jagged, so stinging, yet so boundless in its shades of aquamarine blue.

Yet there exists, in folded recesses, layered in shrouds, wrapped in papyrus,

armoured sentinels, mutely grasping, onto all that was once all of you, onto all that was once all of me,

armoured sentinels,

standing guard,
fiercely protecting against forgetting,

fierce sentinels,
holding firm onto the persistence of memory.

The Divergence of Time …

The divergence of time …

There may have been a time,
when tributaries flowed hither and thither.

There may have been a time,
when forks along the paths spread here, there and everywhere.

There may have been a time,
when currents tugged heartstrings strummed in discordant rhyme.

There may have been a time,

one time, one moment,
ever so fleeting,

when clarity was torn asunder.

There may have been times,
a few, some moments,
ever so fleeting,

when hopes and dreams coalesced,
for that filament of time.

There may have been times,
across decades, imperceptible seconds,

when all seemed concrete,
when all seemed complete,

ah, but illusions are phantoms,
just out of reach,

as intangible in the gale,
as elusive to grasp,

as many a yesteryears newspaper sheet.

… and when this shroud,
the skin we moult,

traversing eons, sipping kisses, lapping tongues,
mingled meadows of scarlet red,

the standard waves amidst,

the smoke, the swollen pollen, detritus of ills scarcely-forgotten,

to flutter on the ramparts,
aloft, again,

for the pot simmers,
and the light of hope glimmers …

You …

You …

You have soothed the stinging nettles away,
your breath a balm,
your whispers soft as the oceans’ spray.

You have unmasked the spurious charade,
your hair a canopy,
your love so gentle as the delicate shade.

You have settled within my very core so deep,
your lips my chalice,
your kisses waking me from my fitful sleep.

You inhabit the largest part of my being entire,
your soul my wellspring,
your arms offer respite from the muck and the mire.

You inflame the passions I thought were all dead and speared,
your touch a furnace,
your presence a blazing dawn with all encroaching cobwebs cleared.

You transform each desolate night into a tapestry of light,
your eyes lift the veil of darkness,
your fierce desire envelopes me warm and tight.

You were my lifeline in the maelstrom in which I helplessly swirled,
your arms my anchors,
your incandescent sun the constant around which I whirled,

your truth a shield against all rocks hurled,

your trust an embracing shawl so effortlessly unfurled,

you,
my life,

you,
my exquisite world.

CopyLeft 2021

Covid-19 Thoughts: Monday March 8th 2021

As we all grapple with this strange and scary new world we now inhabit, it makes one think of what is truly important in one’s life.

The love and caring of family has above all else become our new “normal”.

This is not to say that we didn’t love or care for family before this pandemic and before our state of lockdown but we had begun to take things and people close to us for granted.

The Covid-19 microscopic virus has turned our world as we know it upside down.

A tiny collection of cells so minute has laid bare our arrogance as human beings.

The world’s largest and most powerful countries have spent trillions on large weapons that rain death on innocent people, and now we see all of us – large global powers or small island nations being “levelled” by the novel Covid-19 virus.

This is staggering, for me at least, having grown up in the era of the Cold War with its doctrine of “MAD” or “Mutually Assured Destruction”.

The Novel Coronavirus has, in a matter of months, disposed off all that human arrogance of power and our beliefs in that we control life and death.

The Covid-19 pandemic has flung into the the garbage bin of history the conceit that we are alone in, and secure in our wealthy countries and in our wealthy homes.

We are facing the realisation that we are all fallible.

We are pummelled finally, by the understanding that we are one race – the human race – and what affects one certainly affects the other.

The South African philosophy of “uBuntu” or “I am because we are” – that simple yet profound understanding that all of us are linked by a common shared humanity.

For those who believe in a higher power, these moments are particularly poignant as “Allah” or any other deity or name the different religions refer to “The Almighty” as is being seen as almost “humbling” us all, His errant children who have strayed from the path of justice and equality and truth and tolerance, and frugality, and respect for one’s elders and the countless humanistic tenets that religions share and espouse.

For those who believe in “The Almighty”, these are moments of solemn humility and prayer – salaah – masses – prarthanas – as we implore our maker to forgive us our trespasses – even the ones we may be unaware of having trespassed.

Such deep philosophical and existential ideas all prompted by a lethal microscopic virus that threatens to wreak even more misery and death upon human beings – with of course the most vulnerable in our societies bearing the brunt – the poor, the destitute, the oppressed, the beaten-down masses who have been savaged by the capitalist “profit over people” motive and the prevailing worldwide accepted economic model.

But, I see light here. I see glimmers of hope. This may sound all very well coming from one who lives comfortably and does not have to eke out survival on an hour to hour basis as almost five billion of our fellow humans on this earth of ours have to do daily.

The hope I speak of is the true humbling of all of us.

We have been humbled and this tiny virus has us terrified.

We have also been exposed to being petrified.

So the hope I speak of is that perhaps, just perhaps, the human race will emerge from this indescribably brutal pandemic with at the very least, having pondered and reevaluated what we as human beings have valued and taken for granted all these decades past since we began to truly progress in the fields of medical science and information technology et al.

These are just a few thoughts on this Monday the 8th of March 2021.

I will endeavour to introspect more.

I want to be less arrogant about anything – be it religion, race, social status, level of education, and all the other yardsticks by which we have until this point in our history measured what “success” and “happiness” really mean.

Prayers and wishes and thoughts to all those battling this plague, and to all human beings, but particularly to the teeming multitudes who have been for centuries beaten down and trampled upon.

They are fellow humans.

They must be accorded the dignity we so blindly take for granted.

Afzal Moolla
Copyleft 2021

For the Merseyside Moptops …

They may have wished they were Paperback Writers, and yet they’d never Imagine soaring with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds high above and across those fragrant Strawberry Fields Forever leaping Across the Universe With a Little Help from their Friends while running Helter-Skelter singing paths to Give Peace a Chance while Twistin’ & Shoutin’ their way to old Eleanor Rigby’s funeral with Father McKenzie, while all she craved was the human touch of Wanting to Hold your Hand when All my Loving Can’t buy her Love so Please Please Me and tell Jude not to be so sad cos’ the War is Over and its a Happy Christmas as the battles rage on and all we do Watching the Wheels go Round and Round, is saying Hello Goodbye to the Obla-dis Obla-daas leaning drunkenly on Penny Lane and being Working Class Heroes if only you’d Love me Do and if only we’d afford a Ticket to Ride to burn some Norwegian Wood Yeah Yeah Yeah cos’ She Loves You, because Yesterday we wore out our Rubber Souls strolling down Abbey Road soaking in The Ballad of John and Yoko while Letting it Be but only and only, once again, if we Come Together, at long long last, and striving, flailing to Give Peace a Chance …

She, and I

She, and I ...

I met her in another time,

the bus-stop sheltering us from the slicing hail,

I smiled, she did too,

as the wind screeched a shrilly wail.

Our bus splashed us with mud and we laughed,

we were never ones for fashion,

the books we carried were our escape,

the books were our world, our warmly hugged passion.

I asked her if we could sit together and she said yes,

we were two awkward souls,

both uncomfortable in our very own dark holes.

Our friendship blossomed in that unforgettable spring,

that humid year of lashing rain,

we talked and we laughed, we cried and we screamed,

we hollered at the world, wildly bellowing out our shared pain.

We were never a couple, we did not hold hands, we did not kiss,

we talked of escape from this place of emptiness so bleak,

and at times we just shared the silence,

no words needed to speak.

She was my anchor, and she said I was her balm, we shared a love of a different hue, as we danced in the monsoon rain,

our tears mingling with our gnawing pain.

We laughed as we shared the stories of our lives,

we sat quietly when we knew we had to leave,

we knew the knife of our present sliced souls, and like butter, into hearts did cleave.

We stood in the open expanse,

we cried, wishing each other good luck,

on that one day so many moons ago,

yet still, today,

now,
at this moment,

my tears flow …

the wanderers smile …

sidestepping shrapnelled
shards of jagged life

cauterising
wounds
deeply veiled
fleeing from salivating strife

sewing a tattered soul
        fragmented
        mishmashed
       
        into
        a
        rainbow
        mosaic
            
        haphazard
            
a patchwork of forgotten lies spoken

a wellspring of
dreams broken

flung to the winds
cast away

the wanderer …

committing the crime

around
every bend

attemped rhyme
to inure time

mile
upon endless
mile

prepped
to bury pain

on cue
to mask loss

anaesthetised
sterilised

prepped
on cue

mile
after
mile

to paint on
the wanderers smile.

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