January 2014 Contribution by Inge Durrani
My love for words goes a long way into the past, I having lived in many countries around the world and visited many more. My mother tongue was German in a Polish environment and I noticed, e.g. certain pronunciation styles at a very young age.
This inquisitiveness led me to become a mature student in my early thirties (with three young children and an academic husband from Pakistan!!!!) to study Linguistics and German for a Combined Honours degree, then followed the PGCE course, and later on a Master’s Degree in Education, all at the University of Birmingham.
While I was teaching, a variety of old languages that I had studied in addition to my linguistics programme, and figuring out how they functioned, gave me a deep insight into my main languages. Now I feel most comfortable speaking and writing English!
After I retired early in 2000, I bought a book on ‘Self-Teach Poetry’, and the exercises were most helpful. My very first poem was in the 1970s when I asked amongst others ‘What do you look like now, Mandela?
WWB have, of course, furthered my insights and presentation of poetry.
Last October, the WWB gave a much appreciated performance at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. I chose a large picture, 2.60 m x 1.50 m, by Hurvin Anderson entitled THE PALM HOUSE.
Luckily, I had not read the title, because my poem would have been quite a different one.
Since WWB labeled the performance Discovery – New Beginnings, I decided to ‘go’ into the picture and discover – perhaps myself? [I started bottom left making my way to the right top]
There is no light.
That darkness of life is oppressing.
She hits against stones and tree-trunks, leaves, grasses
with eyes closed
she feels her way towards that she knows
but it has to be better than
this choking heat,
this immediate contact with horrifying soil
and buzzing insects,
the sweat oozing from every pore of her flesh …….
Go on, womaan, things never stay constant, as you know,
and you will find
what you are looking for …..
She now dares open her eyes.
Through the dark shadows
she can make out
strange stars, large stars, illuminating her surroundings.
Only now making use
of the light of those bizarre stars,
she senses her surroundings better and even recognizes
palm trees and other types of tropical vegetation.
There is Red and Red is dangerous, though –
so she inches on her haunches through
the evil-smelling soft ground.
Perseverance has paid off;
the day has progressed
and she senses the sky – imminent and blue above her :
No further need to crawl like an animal,
but step out erect, even if not visible to other,
with knowledge of what she can be;
with inspiration of what she will achieve;
with faith and hope and love
she will arrive at what she seeks :
Since everything is for the taking……………
Inge Durrani – and Happy New Year 2014