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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Peering into Vermeer,
I saw the light of a soft human face peering back at me: fresh, real.
Singing with life.
350 years old.
If I reached out and poked her delicate features, would she say ’ouch’?

More likely, the unsmiling guards would poke the ‘ouch’ out of me instead.

jpm

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42. South Africa

At Table Mountain, the cable car floats us serenely above the hunkering Flats of Capetown.
The air is scorched by the sunset, but clear of the fetid undercurrent of bravado and fear
that lurks beneath the city’s civilian clothing.

In the far distance, Robben Island: brittle birthplace of a nation.

 

jpm

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40. France (Paris, New Year’s Eve, 1989)

Champs Elysee, twenty-four: the whole world before me.
Uniting adrenalin of the pulsating crowd:
350,000 intimate strangers surging as one euphoric organism.
Midnight hovers.
A collective breath …..
BONNE ANNÉE!!!!

Then. Rush for the last metro
Trammeled and crushed, footing lost …. panic!!!
then …. relief!
Spewed to the side like yesterday’s resolutions.

jpm

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39. Hong Kong

The pulsating mass that is Victoria Harbour:

Ferries and junks and boating allsorts
heaving and jockeying for position.
A constant throb of diesel amidst the rolling chop.

Littered with worn commuters,
Hurrying to insert themselves into the vertical living of Hong Kong’s sky high towers,
no elbow room to spare.

jpm

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38. Sri Lanka

In the Galle Face Hotel, there is an ancient lift attendant supervising a still more ancient mechanical lift.
Smiles creasing the corners of his gracious eyes, from his perch in the corner he politely refuses entry, pointing to the copperplate sign:
‘Take the stairs instead.  It’s better for your health’.

 

jpm

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37. Japan

There is a quiet in Japan.

Perhaps the quietness is a way of coping
with the truth of living with 127 million neighbours
on a postage stamp of land.

And every now and then, a sudden revolt:
devastating earthquakes,
horrifying tsunamis. 

As if the land itself were protesting its burden.

 

jpm

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36. Thailand (Chiang Mai)

Our noses wrinkle in disgust at the pong of the returning hill-trekkers, reeking with a week’s unwashed grime.  

Happily, we are entirely oblivious to our own odorous stink a week later at journey’s end.

Until I spy the comically familiar expressions of the next group waiting expectantly for our return.

 

jpm

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