It was National Poetry Day this week so what better way to start this year’s recommended reads than with a poem?!
The theme for National Poetry Day this year is ‘Refuge’. Here is a poem by Tara Tulsyan.
At 17 years old, Tara Tulshyan was a top 15 Foyle Young Poet of the Year. In her poem, ‘Care Package’, the speaker creatively imagines the items and memories sent by a relative living in different country. The poem evokes a strong sense of place and culture, using gift giving as a refuge, a tool to share the experience of emotional transition when moving from one home to another.
In my Balikbayan box, Lola finds dried rain and her granddaughter walking down a souvenir shop. She remembers a series of unborn things: a girl teaching herself how to eat American noodles, her stomach over sweetening on oil – already double boiled from last night when she could hear the moon breaking over her roof. Take it as evidence that she was born here. This is where she abandons her western name and remembers mama’s hands, marooned, and still scrubbing the floor tiles, knees asleep, almost begging. She wants to send Lola the name of the town, where sardines are scattered on the road, sharpened by fresh water, because a disaster refused to save them. They are plucked beside the fish, their cheeks still bulbous, draining the water with their bellies, before they are packaged and shipped to another country.
National Poetry Day, Thursday 5th October 2023