A poem by Madhuri.

With by Madhuri

Somehow I found myself sitting
in the First-Class Finnair lounge in Helsinki
in a buckety white chair
at a white counter, with a square plate
of food before me

when from behind came the sound
of little bells

And I was for a moment in Ferndale,
in 1968
I’d made a very long narrow scarf of blue and orange
jaggedy-striped knit fabric, and sewn little round
berries of bells on the
long, cloven-pointy ends

and given it to Morris Graves: 6’4″, gay,
famous, stately, grand, mystical –
and he wore it

For a moment I was in the Haight-Ashbury
in a parade of gypsy youth
all bedecked
in green bellbottoms, puffy sleeves with frills
– More bells here,
and the bottoms, in those days, so slim
and shaped like chalices, like grace –
Bedecked in floaty dresses, flat sandals, beards,
and beads
Winkling and wangling our way up the street
to the park –

Bells on our hems, at the ends of our braids
bingling and bangling
clingling and clangling
like Xmas elves

And the air was warm there on my back
yet cool with wafts of fog
and I smelt for a moment
the herbs
of hot hills,
of toasted spliffs
of weedy wild

And then I looked up
to see a Japanese child go by
with tinkling sneakers
and a shiny under-turned bob
of hair –

June ’19, Helsinki


Madhuri is a healer, artist, poet and author of several books, including her memoir ‘Mistakes on the Path’.

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