Gathering South Asia

Gathering South Asia Through Our Eyes
for Maggie
By Mary Ann Sullivan
Of water won and wonder woo
And water lost and arbor under
Sat and yellow pink and yellow
seat and granite bench and there
we sat
Ever long the last and last
Walks and through and arch and long
The arms and robes of Muslims
forward walk and
Wind and blown
We talked
And sat and yellow pink and yellow
seat and granite bench and there
we sat
the scarfs of Pakistani men were long
and on the shoulder down
and robes of Islam longer
the women Pakistani soft
and gentle tender
south and south of Asia
for once and first Kashmiris known
and gather motion gather words
through eye and eye and
pulled in mind and held
in mind like camera
‘neath an arbor
with gathered under
pink and pink and yellow
share and share
and rides and car and parked on brick
for mom, and mum, and mom
and green
Gathering south Asia through our eyes
Gathering pink and pink and pink
with dearest, dearest pink.
And sprinkling down south Asia
piece and piece and gently falling
Piece of dearest pink and pink and yellow

0 thoughts on “Gathering South Asia

  1. I wish I could think of what this poem (its form) reminds me of – something british from a hundred years ago maybe. I don’t know. Somehow it gets away with all that repetition, and almost childish color, and does so beautifully. I’ll probably read it a few more times, but the first time through it’s surprisingly effective – maybe it’s the combination of syntax and the scattered detail of the setting, but the poem seems to have a deep maturity to it that I can’t quite put my finger on. Very nice.

  2. I’ll play devil’s advocate on this one [let me put on my horns…]
    I just didn’t get much out of this poem…and I’ll be the first to say it’s just from my own perspective/experience/opinion/preference of taste/etc.etc. I don’t believe much in any ‘absolute aesthetics’ or any dielectic of applying science to poetics, but I do believe that poetry can be like milk…good for a while then spoiled. Thus there is a need to express our experiences differently, regardless of what was in vogue 100 years ago, to put the reader in the poet’s shoes and to make poetry ‘good equipment for living’.
    The form of this poem may be Victorian, I don’t know, but the continuous use of ‘and’, to me, doesn’t jive with the serious content in the poem. It comes across like: “..and this one year in band camp..etc”. Such repetition would have a greater chance of success with something more humorous or more mundanely contemporary.
    I think a great poem could be had here by adjusting sentence structure, taking out clauses, and delving a little deeper to really convey the experience of “Gathering South Asia Through our Eyes”. Describing something visual can be particularly difficult to do originally but listing the same colors over and over doesn’t give me (just personally speaking) much to work with…maybe a simile or comparison could jolt me out of my grid-locked mind?
    The beat and use of rhyme/repitition becomes too ‘sing-songy’ (I know such style was once the rave with flapper girl Edna St. Vincent) but I think modern poetry calls for a different syncopation.
    Regardless of my own meager opinions, I still loved reading this poem and hope Ms. Sullivan writes again…i luv the exotic!

  3. Thanks for commenting on my poem, which I just discovered was published here. I wrote this poem after spending over one month filming Pakistanis about democracy, education, Islam, revolution, etc….. And I had been so exhausted by all that, and all the “politics” that I experienced a psychological meltdown after the filming…a kind of exhaustion information overload thing. Then I decided I just needed to write something that was not political, something that didn’t deal with the nuclear threat of Pakistan and India…. So the “sprinkling down” part at first was a kind of symbol of my own fallling apart but now when I find myself reciting this poem it also brings up a haunting image of a country that might experience a nuclear war…the sprinkling down being something entirely different. I filmed a Pakistani nuclear physicist…before writing this seemingly incomprehensible poem… You can see that video here at the following link, way down at the bottom of the page:

Leave a Reply