I know this frosted landscape better than it knows itself, its layers a busy clock of history, still ticking. Under my feet I feel the trail of the slug, the snail, the earth’s deep squirm around an anklet or an amulet, a broken cup. Lost, the names of the ones whose fingers made and used and threw away these things, written and rewritten in the calligraphy of roots. The worm’s heave and turn delivers messages up, scribbled in folds of soil and mud, afterthoughts that grow to trees, trunks with arms, branches with fingers, twigs with nails, scratches on air, tear after tear on a white page. These names have given their artefacts away to be sparse as winter. Here I am, they say. Here and here for you to see, fingerprinted on the sky.
by Imtiaz Dharker
© Imtiaz Dharker, 2009
Imtiaz Dharker was born in Pakistan, grew up in
Glasgow, and now divides her time between Bombay and London. Her main
themes are drawn from a life of transitions: childhood, exile,
journeying, home, displacement, religious strife and terror. She is also
an accomplished artist, and all her collections are illustrated with
her drawings. Leaving Fingerprints, the title poem of which is printed above, is her fourth book from Bloodaxe.
In these poems, the only thing that is never lost is the Bombay
tiffin-box. All the other things which are missing or about to go
missing speak to each other – a person, a place, a recipe, a language, a
talisman. Whether or not they want to be identified or found, they
still send each other messages, scattering a trail of clues, leaving
You can watch Imtiaz Dharker read two of her poems here, and find out more about her and her work here.
Founded in Newcastle in 1978, Bloodaxe Books
is one of Britain's leading independent poetry publishers.
Internationally renowned for quality in literature and excellence in
book design, its authors and books have won virtually every major
literary award given to poetry. Details of all Bloodaxe's publications, plus sample video and audio clips of poets reading their work, can be found here.
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