Poem of the Week
Mulberries are dangling nipples
great glittering diamonds.
to sunlight and darken to the night.
I see them as bullets
with which I kill the bile in this heart
where they tumble down like fingers
rescuing the croaking crows inside,
creatures wearing the coat of darkness
nesting here in the windows of the mind.
Each morn, they nurse desires
and in my bitter blood open their fires.
Mulberries fall down to the scythe of wind.
I collect them like war refugees in my hand
through watery depths where dust shall end.
Mulberries are never forbidden nipples
in the Garden of Eden.
You can bite torment now and then
and graft them on life's stinging thistles.
By :Rafik Romdhani, 2022.
Rafik Romdhani comes from Tunisia, a North African country with a strong cultural heritage. He was born to Salah Romdhani and Mbarka Romdhani in Rakada Kairouan, Tunisia in 1981. Rafik’s childhood was spent on a farmhouse where he had to undertake heavy, back- breaking works. That was the bitter condition for Tunisian children, Who had to endure all these sufferings. Physical pricks sprouted as a poet inside him and from his early years, he began to write poetry. Rafik’s observations are vast and multivalent, and through his verses, he tackles themes of nature, politics, humanity, society, and culture. An ardent lover of literature, he studied English Language and Literature in the Faculty of Arts, University of Kairouan, and started teaching in 2006 in Tunisia. For four years he went to Oman and From 2012 he taught English in the Sultanate of Oman. He returned to Tunisia to work again in Tunisian schools in 2016. A poet-cum-Teacher Rafik started writing poetry in 2000. His influences include Charles Baudelaire, Herbert Zbiginiew, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, and Sghaier Aouled Ahmed. He has written two books. His debut collection, Dance of the Metaphors, released in 2021, represents an authentic outpouring of his long-suppressed desire to share his poetry with a wider audience. His second one, The Crash of Verses, hits global audiences in 2022.
His poem, Mulberries is an elegant example of subliminal metaphors, they are varied one and in a compounded form they are symbols of melancholy bursting brimming inside the narrator. Here we see the cascade of metaphors, palisading, interjecting but flowing in forwarding mode.
Poet writes “I collect them like war refugees in my hand”
What a liminal line!
These melancholic mulberries are really mesmerizing. This is chosen as Poem of the week, Arc Magazine.
About this poem, Rafik says –Mulberries is a poem inspired by exquisite memories of discovering mulberries for the first time and being enticed by their awesome shape and mouth- watering and heavenly taste. Mulberries serve not only as a source of inspiration but also as a divine realm to rescue the speaker out of his inner melancholy referred to as "the crows inside".
Dr Pragya Suman