So there I was, looking for a photo of the girls and myself on the back of a camel in the Punjab and I came across some of my poetry. There is no connection between camels and my poetry (except that when I wrote poetry, I usually had the hump), but when you’re looking for things in this house, you’re never sure what you’ll actually find.

You didn’t know I wrote poetry, did you? Well, that’s because I don’t any more. I’m not sure why. I used to write several pieces a day when I was in my mid to late teens. Then I got married and stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed! Anyway, seeing as I’m being all brave this week, I thought I’d share some of those scribblings with you.

This first one was written a few days after I left my first husband, in 1998.

The Portrait

It is you who are my Dorian Gray

My face on which your lines appear

My heart that holds your worries

Your disappointments and your fear

My countenance is etched

With the marks of all your woes

While your visage, obviously,

Ne’er a day older grows

My heart is growing heavy

With the tears you do not weep

And with all your little secrets

Ones that I’m supposed to keep

Looking, you can see the furrows

That have crept around mine eyes

I wear all the markings

Of your betrayal and your lies

You have coated your soul in debauchery

Quaffed at the fountain of youth

Bathed in the waters of villainy

And I, I wear your truth

’Twas mine own hand that held the tools

As this portrait was being sketched

Though as I daubed, I did not know

That it would e’er look so wretched

For simple fool that toiled that day

Was unaware her picture would

Be soon replaced by her master’s

And he’d painted his with blood

And now the oil begins to flake

And now the rose is wan

And now the lustre leaves the lips

And now the joy is gone

So good you look, dear Peter Pan

While I shall soon expire

Sinking deeper, deeper still

Into your dank quagmire

Daily hurtling on towards

Destruction and decay

I fight to leave your attic

My Master, Dorian Grey

This one was written when I’d been trying for about 8 years to have a baby. Finally, I realised that it had nothing to do with me. That no matter how much I wanted it, to whom I was married, what doctors I saw and what procedures I underwent, it wasn’t really up to me.

A Welcome Song

Reaching for you through the mists of time,

Holding my arms out wide

Waiting for you to make the leap

And welcome you inside.

I know I cannot force you

You will come when your time is here

When the world is finally ready for you

Then, only then, you’ll appear.

When all your whispered promises

Are ready to come true

Then you will come and join us

And I’ll be waiting here for you.

A few years later, in India, in 2002, I became a mother and my soul felt like it was blooming. When Ishthara was about 6 months old, I wrote this:

Soul Song

You are my soul singing

You are the song of my soul

You took what was unfinished

And you, you made it whole.

You took the tune that I was humming

And you put words to the air

Taught me how to sing it loud –

Louder than I would dare.

We are singing the same song

We are singing it together

The sound soaring through the air

Light, pure, free, untethered.

You are the whispered promise

My life said it was bringing

You are the song of my soul

You are my soul singing.

So once I’d read through a few bits and pieces, I found the picture of the three of us on the camel. I think I’m baring a bit too much leg in the photo; but I don’t think I’m baring too much soul in the poems.

Published by

Hazel Katherine Larkin


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