My mother was preoccupation itself. Much like a dervish entertaining a divine ideal of work (like her father, for whom work was worship), she was always in a whirl of constructive activity. She would come back home from office and almost immediately begin setting about the house.
Thanks to this ceaseless pattern of action and planning the next action, it was easy to forget that she was a person who had truly inherited her father’s creativity and taste for the literary, albeit with a different lingual focus.
Here is a poem she wrote, apparently on 12th June, 1975. It is titled ‘Nile’, and is so true to what her life would be like four years, one month and a week from that date that I found it chilling. It seems more like a veiled manifesto than an idle scribble by a seventeen-year old.
(From some of the markings in the diary that I found this in, it would seem that I would scribble in it when very young – perhaps in some odd, childish desire to match my mother’s creativity. That would explain why I had seen it so little while growing up – she must have stowed it away so there can be something to pore over and discuss with her son during the years of rest that she never got.)
The river flows on
But it will dry up
The well will be empty
The people will starve
And life will end
But what stops this well of life
From just dying [?]
It is the water within
The power and energy within
All make up for the power lost
From the world above.
How long it will last, who can tell?
How long it can last, we must tell.
So plough the field and reap the harvest
Until it is time for us to be earnest
And so pass away!