International Literary Exchange: Poetry by Donna Waters

international literary exchange, Poetry

Mother Ganga

       from the shores of the holy ganges

The sadhu squats low on the ghat.

Ochre robes lull in your water as he scoops.

Three times bending and three times scooping.

Just before dawn.

 

Day brings rich paradox.

Crowds come alone for their baptism. Others wash,

the thwacking of saris wave the boats on.

Your gentleness laps destitute steps.

 

The noontide herd of rickshaws and cows approach

There is little room left to honour you. Still

men and women bow their offerings in

rhythmic genuflection.

 

Still, you welcome them, their brass vessels,

their minute vibrations and prayers.

You welcome also, the disoriented strangers

with their wonderment in camera bags.

 

It is long after dark now. The smell of flesh tangible

from the pyres offering their dead.

Red shrouded women and men in white

sit upright as the flames contort.

 

And they, the richer

are the fortunate ones.

 

You welcome them on their makeshift rafts. You mourn

for those left on the ghat. You weep

for those too poor for you

to carry them on their final journey. Still

 

You welcome.

 

Something About Her

 

‘So another girl eh?’ (nothing special, better luck next time)

Born on time and in the natural way,

her father held her screams and wondered,

waiting for her mother to return

with fifty-three stitches, drunk on anaesthesia,

he wondered what exactly was the natural bit.

 

She grew and its name began silent. Watching,

she waved and clapped and curled, and

its name took voice and became

Misery. Waking her one day with screams

it made plans to never leave. Her father bewildered, busied;

her mother’s days full of grieving minutes.

 

Age four, its name was Insidious. She grew

quiet and gentle and curious. And tired

at ten o’clock with a swollen belly full of fear.

‘Toddler diarrhoea – she’ll grow out of it. Try cutting

out sugar. Wheat. Dairy. Try cutting

Out -’

 

She stood at six, rotund and weary beside siblings, exuberant and

thin. Her parents listening to more specialist talks of

calories in and out until one listened back and

looked. Ten by fifteen centimetre homogeneous neoplasm.

Caught out by a scan but not yet given

name casting her mother and father mute.

 

Not pretty enough to don the glossy hospital

newsletter. Overlooked for the blonde angel

with the club foot whose mother grimaced and asked of

the scar dividing her in half.

G a n g l i o n e u r o b l a s t o m a:

a benign word with malignant intent.

 

Brave and strong, she endured legal Special K and

sent letters to her friends. She asked its name, the

lump in her tummy that shouldn’t be there and ate

the first Icy Pole like a banquet. Mother held her hand and

sister cartwheeled. Her father devoured

information and hope like a sunrise knowing with a

ferocity that despite the lifelong

monitoring and no guarantees – she will survive:

There’s just something about her.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s