Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Names of Gods and other poems - rdp ralte


The Names Of Gods

on your walls are gods i do not worship

but when you pray

i see we pray for the same things

rain for our fields

sun for our flowers

deliverance from our sins

so does it matter

if you pray with your palms facing heaven

or if i pray with them joined tight close

when you shake my hand and i shake yours

do i ask for the name of your god

or you, mine

between my prayer and yours

must we argue

which one rises and which one falls

when we are only men

of equal faith and different beliefs

travelling myriad roads converging to one soil

and however different the names

of our creator is

you and i are one believer

and the form and shape and name

of religion is many, but faith is faith

and i hope your prayers are answered

                            ~ ~ ~

Six Letter Drink

i change my mind every two hours, three on a wednesday

my favourite colour goes from red to green like a road signal

and i prefer tea to coffee because the first time i was made

to spell the word coffee

it went something like K-O-F-I

it didn't sound funny to me that i spelled out something

the way it was pronounced

but i can still hear the giggling crowd

who were too kind to laugh out loud at the child who

couldn't understand things just by looking at the sound.

so at the height of three foot tall

i saw nothing was ever the way it seemed

and i learned without being taught

that i had to be careful and cautious with the C

and i knew without being told that if i didn't want

to feel so small

i could prefer tea to coffee because hopefully

i wouldn't mess up with a three letter drink.

or i could pretend to love chemistry just to prove

that i knew it doesn't spell with a K

or i could go back and realize sooner that everything

becomes something else when you look closer

and prepared myself to be mispronounced and misspelled

but nothing could change the fact that i had to go 

by the book

or else i would no longer be the smartest kid in class

and people would wonder what went wrong.

follow your heart, they said, but don't go too far

not as far as to rewrite the rules of K and C

follow your dreams, they said, but keep track of the

economy and dream accordingly

they praised my paintings on the weekend but on

all the other days

they reminded me that by the height of five foot three

i should be a doctor with a C. Because that is what

success sounds like.

so at the height of four foot something

i traded colour pencils for a book of instructions and formulae

and i sold my dreams with all their wings

and bought a degree and starbucks coffee

but trust me, they smelt like the common sense i lost

and the freedom i had never known.

so at what height of something foot tall

will i grow out of a confusion so small

and understand the seven letters that make all

the difference between Coffee and Kofi

and it really was just a small dislocation of the jaws

so couldn't you have let me, just for once, bend that small law

and hear me spell the way i understand......for god's sake i

was three foot shy. that was my cup of kofi

and you ruined it for me.


now i am five foot nothing and you call me deformed

because i refuse to conform with your C.

                                   ~ ~ ~ 

my mother prays when she wants to curse

and my father jokes when he wants to fall apart

and their daughter writes a poem

every time she excruciatingly despises life

                         ~ ~ ~

in the culture of my father

praise is a flood

that drowns a man in his death bed

and flowers are language

most earnestly spoken at funerals

                             ~ ~ ~

rdp ralte (Rodingpuii) published her first collection of poetry called "Secondhand Scars" in 2019.  On the 11th June 2022, she released her second collection titled "Guest of Eden." The four poems here come from the new book. 

It is such a pleasure having an addition to the still very small body of work that is Mizo writing in English.

                                          Cover art: Lalnunsangi Khiangte (rivca)


1 comment:

  1. hre ril em em lo mah ila a ngaihnawmin keimahah chuan a thawk na hle mai.

    ' they praised my paintings on the weekend but on

    all the other days

    they reminded me that by the height of five foot three

    i should be a doctor with a C. Because that is what

    success sounds like'

    he lai ngat phei hi chu ka sawi chhunzawm thiam lo mahse a dik bawk sia.