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DANCING THE ROUNDS   —   By Rasunah      

My personal objective is to write poetry with distinctive qualities which might have an appeal which is truly borderless. Many of the poems may be seen as ‘responses’ to literature (such as Kinanti as a response to the Ozymandias poem). Some of the shorter poems are simply vignettes or 'statement' poems. Another theme is that of 'voices' or speakers from past or present centuries. Those of earlier times embody the timelessness of archetypes, or possess archetypical elements: Cup Woman, Isti's Sutra, Hyacinth, I Point the Ways, Kartini and Kinanti are examples. Another theme is the narrative element, either subtle or obvious. Finally, while most of the poems are contemporary in style, those with lines which begin with capitals are intended to be understood as formalized, where the subject tone might be grave, prayerful, eulogistic, or ceremonial.


Paperback 191 pages  —  £12.00

Dancing the Rounds

ISBN 9781907091216

The richly embroidered imagery of Rasunah's poetry
is compelling. Her poems can take surprising turns,
such as from the natural world to the other-worldly,
as in Yellow Leaves, or from Canadian worlds to
Indonesian in Dancing the Rounds – the title poem of
this book.

Lally Grauer:  Native Poetry in Canada


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this page & I dance by lamplight in nights
before modern conveniences
I join hands with the ancestors
who jigged & drank
thru log cabin living rooms
in the rugged bays of lakesides
whose tree-scraped skies
were cluttered with the spirits of World Wars
& I join hands with all the brown-eyed children lost
or abused and the families whose spirits
are still being broken by anger & greed

by the shadowy flicker of lamplight
I step gingerly over borders centuries old
& watch the repetitive fall of kingdoms
& the lives of princes & saints unfold;
in fields of revelation unceasing
exquisite orchids grow

as I drive to this valley
ringed with the history of desert survival
loved ones past & present recede,
recede into landscape,
are submerged in memory -
so many leaves under snow

the wake of creation,
is littered with the detritus
of what we are: as under a lens,
still transparencies,
(or only so many hurled stars);
are traced onto the page, fleetingly
until it is folded & yellowed
in the dance of worlds,

the pulse of her blood thru our hearts
enlivens the play of words
in time which sanctifies or existence which typifies
the natural illumination of all things, between particles
of dust which permeate the air we breathe,
between shadows irradiated by lamplight on the screen,
dust, leaves, stars scatter, are folded away


in understanding the suffering of those which one helps
no one can fail to be a human being

if there is something to be afraid of
it is not to be a human being

you live in a gone world
I don’t have to tell you why
take care of yourselves
was one of her messages

the suffering of others is not worth agonizing about
it is worth contributing something toward

care of others needs to be learned nowadays
save a part of your capacity for -
not the agonizing, but the doing…

“do” through your talents
so that you develop yourself as you develop others

if you have forgotten others, you have forgotten your self,
you have forgotten your soul & your humanity

many are afraid they will not survive the suffering of others
but in fact may draw strength from this kind of fear

live for the day that your contributions may be made
& the day that notice taken by others
of your contributions becomes meaningless to you

on that day you are rich in spirit


there you are walking inside me, I check
& at first you are younger, then I check again,
& you could be older
& without the weight that you carried here,
you just wore it here
were you the one I loved here
or the one I loved there
now I can say
you were both

who were you that I knew when you were here
that told me a secret,
ah yes, I recognized you…
the child of God, the one
who had no children
came to live here again,
child of the father, who then had no father
this time had a father
was loved here by those who could not glimpse
that reality, so much so,
I never mentioned what it was to anyone

now you are with your original father, still peaceful
now in blue robes
so who was i
that I was here & now you visit this woman
whose mother has passed away, who wonders
who was I that you knew when you were here

we shall go back & turn & turn
we may go back to the very beginning
when there were two women, Lilith & i
when there were two brothers, you & cain
who shall we be, then & now, & tomorrow
how shall everything change, again…

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