The other poems in this anthology run a wild gamut: a young cello-player at a concert in St. Michael's church in Blewbury ['Waves of music propel me to the hall./(Olas, waves: ahogar, to drown')] bringing back a cool Caribbean church 'with flowers of frangipani falling silently', laughing men drunk on themselves hanging out near the Jaya Cinema in Lake Town, Calcutta, a Serb ordering a man to rape his dead mother in Bosnia, and Monet's lily-pools and aquatic flowers.
Ketaki Kushari Dyson is very much a poet of the diaspora, and one of the most powerful poems in this anthology is the 'Maps from my perspective', manna to any angst-ridden diasporan's identity-search. She traces the journey from the 'cross-roads at Gariahat heady with tuberoses', to making 'Kidlington's fields, canals and farer's ways' her home. The poem is about learning to concede that the old woman spinning in the moon could just about be a man's face, waiting twelve long years for a ginger-lily from Santiniketan to flower in a pot on a Christmas day in Kidlington, and realising that
"Maps are to do with slily shifting borders. They get up, walk towards each other, peer into each other's eyes. They embrace, weeping over each other's shoulders."
It is this multi-cultural motif that imprints itself on each of her poems and imparts to them a special flavour.Add to that her woman's mind that weaves poetry out of herbs and weeds, shirts hung out to dry, empty polyester dresses and black Poona saris. To celebrate blazing rape-fields in Oxfordshire she goes back to Tagore ('A fire of flowers has hit the blue horizon' --- in her own translation), but she also likens them 'in their unreason' to 'a surge of oestrogen in a woman nearing the end of her flowering season'.
It is a delightful read, this travelogue, as it takes the reader in intimate company, not only on her Argentinian journey but also when
As I walk close to a fence, keeping my head down, dodging the long eyes of the rain-freed sun, my nose is scratched by a rough, flailing branch --- very much an individual, in dogged dialogue with the wind, its passing rider."
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