Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca: Poetry (Voices Within 2021)

Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca was born in Bombay to Prof. Nissim Ezekiel and Daisy Ezekiel. She attended Queen Mary’s School, St. Xavier’s College, Bombay University and Oxford Brookes University, U.K. She holds Bachelor’s and Masters’ Degrees in English, American Literature and Education. Her career spanned over four decades in Indian colleges, American International Schools and Canada, teaching English, French and Spanish. She’s a published poet and has her poetry page at https://www.facebook.com/kemendoncapoetry. Kavita also writes short fiction. Her work is strongly influenced by her father’s work. (The late Nissim Ezekiel was an eminent poet, well-known in India and overseas).

 

My Road

 

I’ll dare to walk on

‘The Road Not Taken’

Perhaps it’s the one others have forsaken.

 

This is the road that may lead nowhere

I’ll still walk on without a care

But if I should arrive at last

I will have all my dreams surpassed.

 

If I get lost, I’ll cry for help

Still glad to have remained true to self.

 

And crunch the leaves under my foot

Those that haven’t yet turned to soot.

 

And if perchance help does not come

I’ll stop the walking and break into a run.

 

Haibun of the Able Seaman

 

It is incredible what a man will do when he wants to return to his home in India, from a foreign land, especially when his companions for three years had been Philosophy Poetry and Poverty, his lodging an ‘attic with mice for friends’, that’s how he described it to me. Perhaps that was a metaphor; his way of explaining cheap accommodation. I am inclined, as always, to believe him. What irony to learn that this same man would win an award for being a deck hand! It’s a true story I never tire of reading about… certificate of ‘Able Seaman’ awarded to him, my poet father. A father with a slender fame, delicate glasses that would blow into the waves of the ocean, at the hint of the faintest breeze, and the thin wrists that made him always want to wear a long- sleeved shirt, to cover them. By the longest stretch of my imagination, I can’t picture him scrubbing the decks of the cargo ship, carrying coal to Indochina. His companion, who was supposed to travel with him would later change his mind, so he had to travel alone. He braved the elements with that same determination that kept him abroad for four long years. Despite the ‘three P’s’, his constant companions, (the philosophy and poetry, he didn’t mind) the call of home becoming stronger than ever, he must find a way to return. Perhaps the sea had a poetry of its own, made its own music, in the sounds of the wind on the waters. His ocean journey would land him in his beloved city, Bombay, to carve words into posterity.

Call of the homeland

Poems in wind, waves, water

The human spirit

 

Insight

 

Even as an older woman

My preferred color is still black

Matched with the white blouse with the usual ruffles loved in youth,

I plan to age, gracefully, though,

* “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Determined to enjoy a well-earned pension

Though it may be small

Undecided whether to spend it on shopping or mortgage.

I shall sit on the patio when hit by cabin fever in winter

Dressed in cap, mitts, boots, and scarf

Forgo the favorite past time of a walk

For fear of slipping on the deceptive black ice on the sidewalks.

In summer I will admire the perennials

as they miraculously return, each year

To bloom once more.

I will continue to invoke the poetic muse

Writing poems about birds and fountains

I may have written before,

Still in a mellower vein now.

 

I will walk up and down the house with slower gait

With perhaps a stair lift to aid my climbing

To the bedrooms upstairs.

Yet, continuing to praise God for His many blessings

Praying that the angry squirrel will bring only smiles

And be blessed with a house full of cats.

 

‘Happiness is a choice’, my wise father told me,

But sometimes sadness will have to come

For the sprightly steps you once were able to take,

Or the quick reflexes with which you were able

to flick a persistent wasp away.

 

Perhaps if I ‘rev’ up my engines now

And put more fuel into the passing years

I can show myself how I intend to grow older

Dyeing my hair to preserve the distant memory of youth,

I can still make my presence felt in the classroom

Endearing myself to the young ones, with both beauty and knowledge.

 

And, oh yes, I should start writing my epitaph

For my family and friends to remember me by,

And commend me to posterity.

 

* “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.” Which means the best plans may not work out.

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