A Poem Explodes

“The Wave” by Willem de Kooning ca. 1942–44, Smithsonian American Art Museum

A poem explodes —or gathers beneath you,a soundless heaving wavethat you never climbed                  And you find at onceyour feet are off, your toesdon’t touch the floor, andthe sand is a memory.                  Gasping at the edgeyour heart is hoisted loosethe suck of air short and sharp —final, perhaps.                  Now behind youthe swell comes apart, meltinginto foam shapes and opaque colour— if white is a colour —                   It shushes at the silence,you see white beads scatteredon the air, disappearing, andyou’re still standing                  But you don’t knowwhere you’ve been dropped —this shore is new and you are lost

to make your joyful way again.

This is a tribute to the many times that I have felt renewed, even ‘saved’, by poetry. It doesn’t cease to amaze me how a few squiggles on a page can make their way across time and space into some corner of your being, to shift the furniture by a few inches, or wipe the glass, so to speak, so that there is suddenly a bit more space, a bit more light. It is a tribute, then, to the care and craft that must go into those squiggles; to the mutability of our minds; to the connectedness of ‘self’ and ‘world’.

Aditya Pandya is a writer and artist, and part of the Mad in Asia Pacific team. He leaves traces on the web around here and likes getting mail that isn’t trying to sell him things.

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