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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

26. Malaysia (The Pinnacles, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak)

Four days jungle walking
(raining).

I creep out at night for a pee,
crouching over the steaming leaf mould
(it’s raining).

A hundred scrawny, starving leeches
LEAP to attention,
their infrared sensors focussed single-mindedly on my warm bum
(still raining).

The race is on: first to the finish line wins!

 

jpm

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24. India (The Taj Mahal)

Blinding heat ricocheting off the pristine marble of the Taj.
My bare feet dance across the white-hot path as if walking across coals.
Devastated to learn that the fabled love of a man for a woman
which built this great edifice, resulted in her death:
Fourteen children in fifteen years.

jpm

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22. Belgium (Liege)

Hurting blue autumnal skies, crisp above the waterways surrounding Liege.
So peaceful, as my bicycle bumps along their banks.
But still the distant echoes of bloody world war which stole my grandfather’s dad,
drowned in these same canals.
Handwritten postcards to his six year old son, a family’s poignant sorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jpm

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21. Nepal

In Kathmandu, a life is lost too soon,
a witness in this ancient land,
leave-taken in a corona of carefully layered fire on the banks of the Bagmati.

The kindness of strangers shepherding his soul and his family
to comfort and peace,
ashes dancing under the watchful gaze of Chomolungma*.

jpm
In memory of Bruce Collicott (1967-2000)

*Mt Everest

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20. Bangladesh

It’s 50°C and temperatures are rising.
Hidden beneath the colourful, tattered veils of conservative Chittagong,
the modest matrons as young as eighteen shelter chastely from prying male eyes.
Squatting on swept dirt floors,
they chatter with bawdy, eye-popping, side-splitting aplomb about their husbands’ inadequacy ‘indoors’.
Butter wouldn’t melt!

jpm

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19. Myanmar (Burma)

What does The Lady say? What will The Lady think?
A silhouette of an idea, a flickered impression of a movement,
a resolute shadow of a nation.
Always there.
Never seen, but heard within everyone’s listening heart,
in their deepest way of knowing.
The grace and patience of a people.

jpm

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18. Eire (Ireland)

And in County Cork, the craic is good and the bowls are flung with underarm abandon along the crooked backroads.
Betting is fierce as spectators leap asunder from the cannoning bullets.
And in the distance, the hulking shadow of St Kevin’s (‘longest building in Europe!’), built to encase the insane.

jpm

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17. Iceland (near the Vatnajokull Glacier)

When the world was just begun,
the earth shifting and heaving, steaming and bubbling,
untrodden and newborn.

Verdant Green.

Vast and sweeping landscapes.
Still to be known, but with tomorrow’s breath.

Cerulean Blue.

Unsung, yet already heroic.
And utterly solitary.

Glacial White.

This, then, is the first saga of Iceland.

jpm

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16. The Philippines (Manila)

Call it research.
Sex workers learning how to protect themselves from HIV.
A client calls – I’m hurriedly bundled in amidst the girls.
He hesitates on his slow inspection, eyeing me speculatively.
‘Not this one’ says the brothel owner.
Cool as anything.
Not me: I’m all sweaty relief and bug eyes!

jpm

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15. Italy (Rome)

Preternaturally quiet, dust motes suspended in a shaft of cool, subterranean sunlight, deep below the roasting scooter-filled streets.

Ancient bones, crumbling to naught, stacked high in Catacomb walls

A femur here, a grinning jawbone there.  A crooked finger, beckoning forwards into the once-living story of a Roman past.

jpm (posted from Cairo Montenotte, Italy)

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