My Lord!
People’s faces make them the strangers
But my heart and love made me the stranger
People along a voyage become strangers
But I amongst my folk became a stranger
My Lord!
All patients finding a cure with their healer
But I found the ailment with my healer [1]
Everyone a portion of this world granted
But for I no share whatsoever being held
Every heart intimate with a lover to solace
But for I no lover, forever a stranger
Every night folk sleeping in restfulness
But for I dreamless wakefulness
People resting upon some lover’s embrace
But for I, nestling loveless by my Self
Her skin that chasm of ailment between the angry Nile of Mankind’s torrential gazes and the placid tear-filled lagoon blooming with rare lilies of her smiles. And I that pompous Pharaoh walking upon the melancholy banks of her alluvial heritage—restless unremitting deprivation—sediments layered upon layers: millions of broken hearts and ‘unsolid hopes’. [2]  
And this dawn when the last of her skin boiled away, the Pharaoh that was ‘I’ drowned and my Self followed the Moses of her last glance hurried across to part the vexed Nile of humanity’s amnesia.
Wore her as the garment of righteousness embroidered by the pearls of her tears clasping at the scepter of her laughter, stood and bewildered as if a singular eye: from the follicle of hair to the soles of my feet, hearkened unto the effulgent wordless soliloquies of a child-soul, not even the thickness of skin apart from her Beloved Creator.
And when tempted to take a step away, slipped upon the slimy algae of my negligence, fell upon the beach rocks of my unnumbered sins:
My heart broke…
My eyes broke…
My face broke…
And ‘I hapless lost her forever’. [3]
[1] Healer in this verse is the Creator who has sent the ache and ailment of broken hearts. It is indeed only our Beloved Creator with the power to break our hearts. Nothing and no one, even ourselves has the slightest power to break the hearts of anyone. And shattering of hearts is indeed the healing for their souls.
[2] James Thomson, The Seasons.
[3] Joseph Warton, The Dying Indian.

Background: Placidia Karugendo, severely ill with an AIDS-related skin infection, is watched over by her brother at their home near Bukoba in northwest Tanzania. Placidia’s father died from AIDS and her mother is very ill. Placidia contracted the disease from a blood transfusion when she was just two years old. (June 97)

© 2004-2002,  Dara Shayda