Saturday, 6 October 2012

Eastern Eyes - Performed at Bestival

When I see you
I melt into your big brown eyes
Those dark eye lashes dazzle
Luring me in like a pitcher plant

You’re transfixing me
Bewitching me like
Some she-dervish...
And then you set me whirling

Slow at first,
Till I’m twirling
Round and round
Your hazel sheathed pupils

Then comes your hair
Curly and complex like your emotions:
Love and jealousy murge
Into one intense expression

I consider how your
Culture carves chasms
Into your neural pathways,
Like my culture moulds mine

Yet it’s like scaling Constantine’s walls
When you are standing 10 feet tall
On the deeply rooted voices of your
Father, mother, their parents and theirs

Ancestral lineage is alive in you, a mystery
Spanning generations and first-borders
A wisdom of lifetimes, customs, and expectations
Passed from parents to daughters

Memories lie buried in your beautiful middle-eastern features:
Eleven thousand years of the Stone Age, Troy, Smyrna, Homer;
Of Alexander, Rumi, St Paul; Hafiz, Attar and
Continued attempted conquests of Constantinople

Your ancestry blows minds back to the origins of humanity
Far from modern, westernised urbanity,
Beyond the backgammon, belly dancing, and Sufis, beyond
The wild beauty of the Kuchka mountains and the fires of Olympus

The sheer age of collective human experience
Once told by the Mongolian phonetics and clicks of tongues
Hangs in the air, held in place by Crusader’s turrets, that now
Reverberate with the megaphone verbatim of mosques

And here I stand, of Western European descent
Amazed by and immersed in the culture of you
Gigantesque in comparison to my own,
Its intrigue takes me far from home

And all I can is to honour you and your family -
Thanks for taking care of me
Now that I’m more wise
Seeing life through eastern eyes

No comments: