Stars and Stones
On a roof in Baghdad
long before he was a dad,
my friend’s family would stare at the sky.
On rope-woven beds
they’d rest their sleepy heads
as his grandma showed him patterns on high.
And as he taught me Weiqi
he also helped me to see
the same patterns his jodda had taught.
As our stones interlaced
like constellations in space
my friend remembered his grandma’s thoughts.
You see, Mazin had sought
what his grandmother had taught
to see patterns in stones, stars and minds.
They all share patterns the same,
In this natural, glorious game.
That amazes all of humankind.
Indeed, Mazin and I
both learned to open our eyes
from a woman resting under a Baghdad sky.
— by Sabio Lantz 12/2015
Prompt: Toni, over at d’Verse Poets, asks us to “write a poem about stars” (and to make it a pretty poem).
Background: Weiqi (the game of “Go”) is an oriental board game with black and white stones alternatingly laid on a board. The patterns that emerge are the beautiful result of contrasting strategies in which, with careful eyes, one can see the lila of the universe.
Mazin and I have been friends for decades. Mazin is from Iraq where he lived in an extended family in a classic flat-roofed house where the family slept in the hot season. He moved with his family to England when he was 14-years old. I am from the USA but lived for years in India, Japan and China. Mazin and I first met in Taiwan where we both were in the same Chinese language school. Our friendship was cultivated over game-after-game of Weiqi, cups of Chinese tea, and stories of his Iraqi jodda (grandmother).
Poem Rhyme pattern: I needed rhyme to motivate me to write tonight. I think the pattern is obvious — I made it up myself.