Notes from Warsaw – 4

What happened here, at this very place —
did someone die, did someone kiss, did
someone leave with a mouth full of
goodbyes, did someone return, wordless,
arms cradling improbabilities? I wonder
why I am here, now, watching trains
crisscross the Vistula. The river answers
in a language I cannot understand. The
moon into whose eyes I dare peer from
my own rooftop, looks away, showing
bones, a line of jaw, tense, broken. Are
we more forgiving of unanswered
questions in the place we label ‘home’?
Long ago, someone with my voice, with
the same dark eyes must have wondered
why he was in the place he stood, bow
in hand. He was taught to kneel. To press his
forehead to the earth. I turn my face. Stand
taller. My cheek pressed against the cold
cheek of the moon. Another train passes.
A march of yellowed windows toppling
squares of night like dominoes. Somewhere
else, there is a warm moonless morning.

(From the Świętokrzyski Bridge)

Also in this series:
Notes from Warsaw – 3
Notes from Warsaw – 2
Notes from Warsaw –

 

 

A reminder that the Poetry Tuesday prompt for Nov 12th is “New”. Read prompt details here.

45 thoughts on “Notes from Warsaw – 4

  1. Ohhh! What a vivid picture … made up of such haunting glimpses. How much I love
    A march of yellowed windows toppling
    squares of night like dominoes.
    And all of it really, but that in particular puts the shivers of ecstasy down my spine, for the way the language brings it instantly alive.

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  2. Wow! This is fabulous! I really related to the reflections, here … and confess, this is very much the direction my thoughts often go in … in places of passages … especially train stations and ports. So – DEFINATELY – for me, this wonderful piece, is at the top-of-the-list in my wish-I’d-written-this category ~ Smiles ~

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  3. This is breathtaking, Rajani. Especially the contrast of his learning to kneel, head against earth and your standing tall cheek against moon. Time, vulnerabilities, chance, choice. So much life here. I love your sensitivity to our connection to those who went before us.

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  4. Gorgeous writing, Rajani. When I read the word Warsaw, I am drawn back to the wartime ghetto and the Jewish population being herded behind its walls. Reading it through this filter made it even more poignant. I especially like the laying of the cheek against the cold cheek of the moon.

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  5. This is utterly beautiful, Rajani!! ❤️ I especially love; “The moon into whose eyes I dare peer from
    my own rooftop, looks away, showing bones, a line of jaw, tense, broken.” 🙂

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  6. I think we are more forgiving of those questions at home, until we are not. Then we realize home might be someplace else.

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  7. Powerful and beautiful. I love the moon as bones. I love the questions and feelings of continuum with all of creation and humankind. Always trying to understand the unforgivable.

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  8. “The river answers in a language I cannot understand.” Exactly how I feel about the answers I get when I pray! Who can understand them?

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  9. “… Are / we more forgiving of unanswered / questions in the place we label ‘home’?” — Somehow I think of Elizabeth Bishop’s “Questions of Travel” And though her conclusion, by way of further question — “Should we have stayed at home?” — rings here, I like the lingering, the savoring of this foreignness. Are we ever home?

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  10. I adore this series, Rajani. As you know, I went to Poland a few years ago and was stunned by the beauty of its buildings and landscapes, as well as its tragedies. I love the opening question and the possibilities it presents. These lines are amazing:
    ’…The river answers
    in a language I cannot understand. The
    moon into whose eyes I dare peer from
    my own rooftop, looks away, showing
    bones, a line of jaw, tense, broken’
    and
    ‘…I turn my face. Stand
    taller. My cheek pressed against the cold
    cheek of the moon.’

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  11. What an intense moment revealing layer after layer of time and place in the questions of now and then, in the sureness of where the moon is and where it is not. I love the parallel of touching the forehead to the earth and the touching cheeks of moon and narrator. Wow!

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