Two Poems by Carmel Rawhani



It is said that love is a cunning temptress.
But what of nostalgia? Is she not a cruel mistress?
A silent thief of the present? Of hope and contentment?
Replacing them with agonizing pensive reflection and recollection through a warmer, brighter lens?
Saturating what once was with the realization of what never will be?
Editing what is before us by superimposing over it what we wished to see?
Is this not the worst fate of them all?
Using the present to stall
the past-
somehow make it last?
Reaching out across the vast
distance for a glimpse of that instance we want to last a lifetime
treating it like a lifelike.
A rescue boat from our shipwrecked lives
we are brought to despise through our lens-deceived eyes.
If only we could recreate, rekindle,
that sense of light warmth now dwindled.
If we could regain that panoramic point of view
we might remember a thing or two.
We might remember that along with happiness and incomprehensible joy came tears
and fears.
And so the answer to this unhappy question lies not in stopping time and reversing the years-
though the very thought of it is music to our ears.
This bliss is paralysis,
it is a close-up dialysis of the ‘now’ from the ‘then’.
An elegant snapshot of a perfect ‘when’.

Nostalgia is a cunning temptress,
a cruel mistress,
an unworthy directress of our lives.
She is a stealthy robber and a
silent killer,
a patient stalker and wilful butcher
wielding the past like a sharpened knife
she will slice
the future away piece by piece until suddenly you awake to kind that it is all lost
and you wasted your life on this self-indulgent cinematic film-festival of the past.

It is not cheating, you know.
To leave this mistress while your heart is still beating and go.
Go wherever but not whenever for it must be in the now.
Reclaim your life.
Some way. Some how.


Grey Magic

I used to think nostalgia was the devil.
That desire to put my past and present in the same place-
somehow make it all level.
But the pain is not that plain.
It is not in missing what once was but in knowing it will never be again.
It is not in wishing for things to be the same
but rather in knowing something has been lost which can never be regained.
It is in understanding and acceptance-
a fate far worse than any other sentence.
It is the dawning realization
of a mistake of your creation,
the proclamation of a need for an alteration,
an altercation between your intention and desires and actual action and misfires.
It is a provocation of your soul,
an unsettling vibration that changes you whole.
The affirmation of the inevitable unattainability of your goal.
It is the wind beneath the wings of your imagination,
a never-ending conversation
of hopeless agitation
between who you were and who you wanted to become.
It is a burning desire for modification
pending investigation.
It is not wrong and it is not right,
but it will seep into your skin and poison you from within,
haunting your dreams in the day long after it has kept you awake all night.
It is not dark or light,
neither black nor white.
It is a “grey magic” of sorts.
It is hindsight.


Carmel Rawhani is a writer by passion and social scientist by profession. Coming from a family of African and Middle Eastern writers and poets, Carmel began writing poetry in primary school. Though preferring to write in English, her personal style is heavily influenced by Arabic and Farsi poetry as well as her upbringing in the Middle East.


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