Some words I feel

Here, in the Dead Sea, I feel possibility. I, who cannot swim, can walk on this water. Here, the sun prepares for its downward journey, slowly, painfully, like a warrior who has seen too much, done too much. Here, the echoes come from a faraway time to brush your skin. Here, nature opens a tiny window to give you a glimpse of her power. This water holds you in a warm embrace even as you drown in the haunting stories of the hills and the wind and the sky.

like the throb of a poem
written long ago
some words I understand, some words I feel

Driving towards Karak, that early Spring, he pulls over, suddenly. Look, he says, pointing to a clutch of black iris plants, standing tall, seemingly alone, on the side of a dry desert road. Fragile, strong, the colour of night, the luminescence of a newly formed sun, a flower I had never seen before. How many things have I met in my life that are made entirely of primal joy?

the daytime moon:
      as if a child glued it to the sky
                     eyes bright with mischief

Within minutes, the dust encircled us, the sandstone rocks seemed to melt, the rat-a-tat of sand on the car-roof was loud, incessant and terrifying. My first sandstorm came without warning to Wadi Rum. We drank tea as we sheltered on a rock. The most morbid of fears are tempered by a cup of tea. This much is true. Storms rage for hours. But then they pass. That too is true. Most life lessons are learnt on that thin edge between how things are and how they should have been. That can be true, if you allow it.

the night never ends
it just turns to morning

I leave Petra not through the imposing Siq, but through a longer, more difficult route- Wadi Muthlim, the dark canyon that might have once directed flash floods away from the city. Squeezing through narrow tunnels, clambering over rocks, following a dry river bed, I find my way back into the sunshine. Enough time to wonder about what being in a place where people lived in such magnificence 2000 years ago, tells me about my own life, about what someone or something will know about me 2000 years hence. What is a trail that isn’t a trail left in stone?

everywhere a pebble has been
everywhere a wave has been
a part of me has been there, is still there

Jordan Travelogue… Dead Sea/Karak/Wadi Rum/Petra

28 thoughts on “Some words I feel

  1. There are no words adequate to share how much I loved your offering ….. this is gorgeous and incredibly so. My next door neighbor had black iris (perhaps they were deep purple) this year and I found them spellbinding, like your chained haibun.


  2. The haibun structure allows the speaker to see without and then take it all within. The last sentence of the prose section lifts toward the verse.. How wonderful to travel deep into an ancient singing!


  3. How magnificent! It made me think of ‘The English Patient.’ And I especially love this line ‘How many things have I met in my life that are made entirely of primal joy?’ – when this happens, life feels so worthwhile!


  4. This is a wonderful tale of your visit to Southhern Jordan. It reminded me of my journey, I have not written solely of it.
    An outline:
    A. Enter from Jerico, walk across the bridge, surrendering temporary passport first
    B. Bus ride to Petra
    C. Ride horseback through natural rock canyon walls
    D. View cliff houses and utility buildings carved into the stone walls
    E. Bus ride through desert to Amman, drivers raced until one bit the dust
    F. Overnight stay in Holiday Inn–toilet wouldn’t flush, plumber never came
    G. Airport bus couldn’t get us out to our plane, being barricaded until our guide paid more
    We went to the Dead Sea earlier on our Israel stay. Met a fellow waiting months for his surgery appointment. He had moved down to Jerusalem to be able to bathe in the Dead Sea to calm the fist sized raw hole in his back. Took it in step, socialized medicine’s paltry pay for doctors to blame.
    That was a rant, first here writing of our stay.


  5. Beautiful poemettes. As a writer of moon poems, I especially like you take on a child glued moon and the night never ending gives me comfort.


  6. There’s a lot to love about this piece, but I especially like the portion describing the sandstorm–LOL, not just because tea and it’s soothing effects are mentioned. This bit, “Most life lessons are learnt on that thin edge between how things are and how they should have been. That can be true, if you allow it.” just really spoke to me. I can think of a lot of lessons I learned that way. Those tend to stick.


  7. I love all the hope you’ve weaved in these lines about difficult times and harsh terrains. I love that even when things get darkest, you ink bright into the feels. Things get tough, in read in these poems, but we can find ways to turn turn lessons into possibilities.

    I also adore the black irises. 🙂


  8. The black irises were an unexpected find for me too. I never knew such flowers existed. A truely absorbing haibun.
    Thank you for dropping by my blog today



  9. Very beautiful writing. You took me along with you. My favourite line: How many things have I met in my life that are made entirely of primal joy? I know that joy, and it always and only comes from the natural world.


  10. Lovely Raj, esp. the black iris and tea in the middle of a swirling sandstorm storm – you make it all come alive for me 🙂


  11. What a wonderful post, and enviable journey. I love the pictures, particularly those black irises. I never even knew such flowers existed! And the words – as I have come to expect from you, beautiful language and profound ideas. I especially thrill to: ‘How many things have I met in my life that are made entirely of primal joy?’


  12. Lovely piece of writing Rajani – the black orchids and the path thru the wadi particularly. And dualities in the haiku – ‘some words I understand, some words I feel’; pebble and wave in the last – elevate the travelogue into pilgrimage.


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