For a Stormy Siesta
rain gurgles more gorgons more
hair spreading snakes in the sky
more mouths drooling infrasong
gutters gurgle dividing
garden into passable
garden and reptile garden.
rest, somewhere a timer says
won’t happen at night, okay,
this timer reassures you;
quakes won’t happen during rain,
it lulls; if you let yourself –
okay? – sleep lulled by thunder.
For an Unplanned Catnap
the lawnmowers are singing Verdi’s Requiem
the neighbour isn’t laughing or he’d be shooting off his guns
tchac tchac tchac kapow!
those army people KNOW how to throw a fête!
the wind is tossing lions’ voices
literal lions’ voices
ROAR chug chug chug
ROAR chug chug
the wind tossing lions’ voices
louder than pines
I’d laugh like Maurice’s piano
if I weren’t crying, laugh
sans gunfire if only
not to be crying, why
I’d like to lie down in lilac, lie down like, like
a petrea petal, helicopter lilac
softly onto a grave.
Happy the rain softly
effacing dates, happy the stonemason
turning, turning to less dreamful sleep, softly in his grave.
For a Nuit Blanche
snowfall ancestral to my mouth
snowfall alien to my mouth
in this life as lost languages
in living memory; oh, extremes,
mountains, deserts, not required
to be borne; poem, I’m equipped
for snowfall your futurity
won’t know; futurity won’t know
you or snowfall, poor little verse.
Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian Scottish writer inspired by other voices, ranging from live Caribbean connexions and an Indian diaspora background to the landscapes where Capildeo travels and lives. Their poetry (seven books and four pamphlets) includes Measures of Expatriation, awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2016.