Guest poem submitted by Nandini Chandra:
(Poem #1864) On the Porch
On the porch thin ceramic chimes Ride wind off the Pacific bells of the sea I do not know the name of large orange flowers which thrive on salt air lean half drunk against the steps Untidy banana trees thick moss on the cliff and then the plunge to black volcanic shore It is impossible to enter the sea here except in a violent way How we have moved from thin ceramic to such destruction
One of several poems under the collective title "Tin Roof". Published in "The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems by Michael Ondaatje". Picador, 1989, p.110. Not your classic sea poem, but what I like precisely is its deceptive desultory saunter from the chimes and large orange flowers etc. to the sudden heart of the matter. There is a narrative thrill in the descent, an inevitability to the acknowledgement that there is a certain demand for violence, which is not without its disturbing gratification. Nandini Chandra.