Poetry Drawer: With a Word: A Single Birthday: The Essenes by Dr Susie Gharib

With a Word

I adorn my mind each morning with a word
as a queen for her coronation is adorned with gold,
with associations to combat the foul breath that is spewed
from establishments,
individuals,
and the rituals of the modern world.

Though sharing three consonants with its adversary numb,
nimble is my armor against stagnation,
stupor,
and getting outrun
by the spurious and the arrogant.

I resort to sedate in times of turmoil
when warfare sharpens its fangs and claws,
when rockets compete for the bull’s eye that is wrought
by profiteers who have been wooing my hometown port.

Sanguine is my anodyne for un-halcyon days
when depression is depleting both pockets and spirits
and Hope is an effigy that pins impale
whose sister Mercy is being burnt at the stake.

A Single Birthday

I imagine what a single birthday would be like
spent with her:
a home-made cake that her hands deck with nuts,
with candles that are not to be blown out.
Two glasses of sweet wine
brewed by her ancestors
in the vicinity of their country vineyard.
An apple pie.
And some milk chocolate that instantly melts
in my mind
before it reaches my mouth.

A bottle of perfume
with a blue ribbon round its neck.
A white hairband for my ponytail.
A strapless bikini for my next summer holiday.
A puzzle to keep me busy on lonely nights.
And a tearless goodbye.

The Essenes

Their mode of existence was marked by numbers –
these offsprings of David, the Nazarenes –
by sacred geometry.

Even-tempered and compassionate,
they kept no servants or slaves
and equal
men and women were declared.

The hand that was placed on top of the head
had learnt the art of healing
both the afflicted and the sick.

They consumed their meals in utter silence,
the vegetarian meek
who drank nom fermented liquids
and because purification was uppermost,
they lived by rivers and lakes
to keep themselves cleansed.

On Mount Carmel they pursued the truth,
the illumination of inner lives,
so the Book of Enoch was among other texts
that their precious library kept
and both john the Baptist and Jesus Christ
received their blessings and enlightenment.

And sleep, which for modern thinkers contains the residue
of the day’s turbulence and joys,
is a source of deep knowledge,
so the last thoughts before a slumber
are to be purified and purged
to keep the power of the mind intact.

Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, A New Ulster, Crossways, The Curlew, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Ink Pantry, Mad Swirl, Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine, and Down in the Dirt.

Susie’s first book (adapted for film), Classic Adaptations, includes Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, and D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

You can find more of Susie’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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