NaPoWriMo Day 30: Speaking in Opposites

Remember, as a child, when you would play that game where you’d say something cool/weird/funny/scary to your brother/sister/friend, and they would look at you with excitement or awe written all over their face, and you’d wait a bit just for effect and then say, “In the opposites!” and laugh your head off? Remember those days? Or is my childhood the only one which has those moments? Because then this would be a little awkward…

The last prompt of NaPoWriMo requested us to take an original poem written by someone else and to change as many words in the poem as we could to mean the opposite of what it originally says.

I chose As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes.

As I Grew Younger

by Ruqaiyah Davids

It was a short time ago.
I have never remembered my reality.
But it is here now,
Behind me,
Dull like the moon—
My reality.
And then the wall sank,
Sank fast,
Fast,
Around me and my reality.
Sank until it touched the ground—
The wall.
Brightness.
I am white.
I stand up in the brightness.
Still the darkness of my reality behind me,
Below me.
More than the thin wall.
More than the brightness.
My feet!
My light feet!
Mend together the wall!
Lose my reality!
Help me to piece together this light,
To rebuild this day,
To mend this brightness
Into a single light of moon,
Into a single firm reality
Of moon!
___________________________

Signoff

NaPoWriMo Day 29: “I Love it When You Talk Foreign”

Yes, I know it’s very late. Very, very late. And it’s not even April anymore. But well, it’s here anyway. Read it or leave it.

(I know you’ll read it. :))

So NaPoWriMo originates in the U.S., and the ‘national’ part of the term refers to the nation of America. But even so, there are many, many poets and participants in the challenge who are not from America. Because it’s not only Americans who love poetry. And I am one of those ‘foreigners’ who gate-crashed the party. So the lovely people over at NaPoWriMo decided to honour us by asking everyone to write a poem which contains at least five words of a different language. I chose Arabic. It’s the closest I’ve come to speaking a foreign language — though, truly, it’s not foreign to me. It’s the language of my people, of my Book, of my land, and of my Lord.

I’ll be leaving for ‘umrah soon, in sha Allah. The minor pilgrimage to the holy land of Makkah. A journey my heart can hardly wait for anymore. And this poem is about that.

Sabah an-Nur

by Ruqaiyah Davids

It’s almost time to go
To a land my heart already knows.
Ahlan wa sahlan!
I will stand on the Mountain of Light
And see the rising of the sun.
Sabah al-khayr!
Wa sabah an-nur!
Joy upon joy!
Light upon light!
My heart will rejoice at the sight
Of the Ka’bah,
Standing tall and strong.
It’s been there all along.
And I will prostrate
With my head and my heart
And pray for a new start.

Translations:

Ahlan wa Sahlan: This is a common Arabic phrase used to welcome someone, however, its literal translation is not just ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’, as it is widely used. For a better understanding of the meaning of the term, go here. Or here, for a much more in-depth look at the term, its origin, and some very interesting and enlightening information on its implications.

Sabah al-khayr: Good morning.

Sabah an-nur: A reply to ‘sabah al-khayr‘, literally meaning ‘morning of light’.

Ka’bah: A sacred building in Islam; the direction to which all Muslims, all around the world, face while praying. For more reading on this, go here.

_____________________________

Signoff

NaPoWriMo Day 28: The Black Heart

NaPoWriMo Day 28

The Black Heart

by Ruqaiyah Davids

Her black heart beats
Quietly.
The sound is almost indiscernible,
Strangled by all her black words.
Black words muffled by black verbs.
What is left for her in this black world
For which she lives?

Grey spots of dishonesty and hypocrisy
Cement her black heart.

The black hurts.
The more it hurts
The more she spurts
Forth black words,
Littered with traces of red pain,
Oozing from her veins.
And it is hard for her to refrain;
She paints the walls
In her hurricane
Of mistakes,
Breaks
And the masked face.

_______________________________

Signoff

 

NaPoWriMo Day 24: The Suckiest One of Them All

The Sucky Poem

Day twenty-four
Is sucky, for sure.
It kept me blocked for four days—
No, more.
I couldn’t go any further,
Until I wrote with fervour,
About how I hate day twenty-four.

I mean, to write a poem with anagrams—
Of my own name—
Is not a fun game.

The end.

__________________________

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NaPoWriMo Day 23: Who We Would Be

This poem is called a triolet. What that means:

“A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.” [NaPoWriMo]

Well, I changed the rhyme scheme a little. Just a tad. You could say that I’ve re-invented the triolet. You can call it the Ruqaiyah Triolet. Okay, that name can be worked on a bit. So my triolet rhyme scheme goes like this: AAaAaaAA. Genius.

Who We Would Be

Still to become who we would be
Our paths would meet through destiny
Start the journey of you and me
Still to become who we would be
A rocky path we would soon see
You and me were not meant to be
Still to become who we would be
Our paths would meet through destiny

_________________________________

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NaPoWriMo Day 21: Fortune Cookie

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! I’m so proud of myself! 😀 However, I do realise that I didn’t quite post ‘a poem a day’. Rather, I often posted 3, 4, or maybe 5 poems a day, while skipping 3, 4, or 5 days prior to that… oopsie. It’s all good though, because the challenge is to have 30 poems in 30 days, however you choose to go about getting there. So yeah, still good. Thumbs up for me. And thumbs up to you who are reading, especially to those who’ve read every poem I’ve posted so far.

Today’s prompt is to re-write Frank O’Hara’s poem Lines for the Fortune Cookies. This is one which, initially, I didn’t feel comfortable with since I don’t believe in fortune cookies, and added to that, I think they’re dumb. However, clever me, I decided that I could still write lines about random people’s fortunes while not going against my sanity by doing something so insane as to pretend to predict the future. All I had to do was be clever enough with my words. And well, I’m good with words.

Here’s number 21

Fortune Cookie

You will meet many different people in your life.
You may someday become a wife.
It will rain in winter. You may get wet.
Your life has changed since the invention of the internet.
No, you shouldn’t have that last slice of cake.
You will be lucky enough to find a man who doesn’t mind that you don’t bake. (Okay, that one’s exclusively for me. A not-so-silent prayer more than a fortune.)
Hunger will find you.
There are blessings in rising before the sun.
Yes, God is only One.
The mountains have a lesson to teach you.
Turns out you actually like chilli, who knew?
Everyone puts their shoes on one foot at a time.
Use your days well when you’re in your prime.
You’ll find the most peace when you put your head on the ground.
You were once lost and now you’re found.
Why are you looking for your fortune inside this cookie?
Put your trust in your Lord, fully.
______________________________

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NaPoWriMo Day 20: Making Meaning

This is a very short one but I actually had a bit of fun with it. The Day 20 prompt supplied us with a list of very random words and we were required to choose at least five of those words and use them in a poem. This is the result.

Eyes Like an Owl

Eyes like an owl,
Her face is drawn in a scowl.
Her words she does not easily squander—
But they cause you to ponder.
She is an elusive ghost;
Something miraculous at most.

_________________________

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