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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nicola Batty 1963-2012

For d'verse Open Night Link #86


Nic often talked about visiting us in Thailand.
Unfortunately, she never got to do this.
So I decided to bring a bit of Thailand to her...

You can check out Nic's work in her Newsletter,
Raw Meat
Or on her Blog,
Without Boundaries.

Nicola , and Night Jasmine shared some unique characteristics...


 

THE NIGHT JASMINE ดอกราตรี (Dok Ratree)





















Deep in the Isan heartland,
beyond the city limits
of Khon Kaen, Udon Thani,
across provincial borders
of Loei, Nongbualamphu,
past small outlying townships
that mark the end of the road
or to the unaccustomed
eye of any outsider,
perhaps the ends of the earth…
lies another, hidden world,
waiting to be discovered.

Beyond banana, mango,
papaya and sugar cane,
coconut, herbs and spices,
and organic vegetables;
past hand-reared, grazing cattle,
free-range chickens, ducks and pigs,
still the edible landscape
continues, ever onwards
dominated by rice farms.

Welcome to Village Isan,

and the simple, country life…

Here, a secluded outpost,

a peaceful community
of happy, friendly people
who tend The Land of The Smile,
is playground to the children,
workplace to the artisan,
and home to men and women
who inhale the fragrant air
of the valley, veiled in mist
that falls with the setting sun
at the coolest time of year.

It’s on evenings such as this,
that the Night Jasmine awakes
to the crisp, fresh feel of dusk,
its perfume surfing the breeze
allowing spirits to lift
as imaginations drift
downwind of the Twilight Bloom,
that will never love the heat
of a summer afternoon,
preferring instead the dead
of night at these cooler times.
 
The intensely fragrant scent
unleashed by the Night Jasmine,
exposed by encroaching dark,
enhanced by the chill night air,
floats free to alight on those
who seek out enlightenment,
as well as on those who crave
excitement brought about by
its intoxicating taste.

Its effect, evocative
also thought provocative,
conjures up a supreme state
of physical well-being,
spiritual contentment
and temporal fulfilment,
along with that totally
overwhelming sensation
of familiarity
with all the ways of the world,
similar to déjà vu;
that feeling of ownership,
possession of all knowledge,
combined with an attitude
of absolute confidence,
bordering on arrogance;
the one that goes hand-in-hand
with the gifts of second-sight,
of safety, security,
and a feel-good frame of mind
as intense as addiction,
that lasts till the new day breaks.

Sunlight ushers it along,

uniting it with the scents
of forest and field and farm
flowing free from far upstream
of the swollen river bed,
force-fed by the flash flood falls
that form from the overfill
of underground reservoirs.
 
High up on the mountainside,
the evening mist hangs its hat,
so cloaking the close of day,
and pulling petticoat tails
over unsuspecting slopes,
obscuring the silhouette
on the distant underscore
till dawn, when the rising sun,
with playful grin on her face,
lays chase to the fallen shroud,
sending the interloper
back home, to the space between
her own precious golden glow
and that of our Mother, Earth,
who harboured its one night stand,
tolerated its presence,
but welcomed with open arms
its life-sustaining moisture.

Our Mother takes one last sip,

before showing it the door,
without wave, or kiss goodbye,
in order to create space
for the scent of Night Jasmine,
and scents set free from upstream
of the swollen river bed;
scents of forests, fields and farms,
that conjugate, and bear fruit
so ripe it melts in the mouth,
to leave a lingering taste
of those morning mountain slopes,
and the hopes, and fears, and dreams
of Isan men and women,
who inhale the fragrant air
of the valley, veiled in mist
that falls with the setting sun
at the coolest time of year.
 
It’s on evenings such as this,
that the Night Jasmine awakes
to the crisp, fresh breeze of dusk,
and imaginations drift
downwind of the Twilight Bloom,
to a secluded village,
nestling in a hidden world,
waiting to be discovered,
deep in the Isan heartland.