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A Day in Wales

Maithreyi Karnoor | Updated on January 25, 2021

A rainy day in Wales   -  REUTERS/ REBECCA NADEN

The rain in Wales falls mainly in the plains...

Wait, that is Spain. Let’s start again.

Women in deep red skirts

Riding so many cycles per second

They’re measured in hertz…

Er... but that’s Spain again.

(And the menstrual cycle hurts everywhere.)

One more time!

Ahem... here goes...

The gales in Wales never fail to bail

Women in whalebone corsets

From puritanical tales.

Yes!

That’s correct.

Skirts bellowing in the winds with

A beau below makes a fine fellow gush.

Alas, I’m not a fellow — fine or otherwise — since I didn’t get the

Fellowship in Aberystwyth last year despite teaching myself to pronounce it.

I’m just a simple maid: a self-made tango-minded mango-minder

In a grove growing alphonsos and bored

As my man is no more ribbed

For my pleasure.

No!

The fault is entirely mine however:

I plucked a rib off his chest

And made a maid to cook for us.

But she plucked out another and made herself a mate.

Maid and mate eloped hand-in-hand

And rolled in the hay

(Because they tripped and fell in it as they had also eloped leg-in-leg).

My man’s thorax may lack bones

But his chest stays rigidly firm with pride;

My bra may lack underwire but I’m not spineless either.

I rose to the occasion (I also jasmined while at it)

And became maid of honour myself.

I now await the bouquet of wild Welsh sunflowers

Carried to me by feral horses galloping over the Gowar.

I pray to Celtic gods and sing to them of our plight

That though troth is held back by a world gone Goth.

‘Visi or Ostro?’ they want to know.

‘The kind with spiked collars and black paint on the mouth’ I tell them.

‘Oh that?’ they smile and nod

And look heavenward and speak gravely thus:

‘A man in love may eat loaves of bread dipped in honey

But a feather in your cap is a rib-tickling joy’ is their verdict.

The Celtic blessing may be cryptic but at least it’s not in Norse-code.

I am taught not to question gods moreover

(One of ours is known to have said que sera sera on the battlefield

So elaborately and eloquently

That we now beat anyone who won’t let what is be

Over the head with hardbound volumes of the lord’s words).

I offer them a red hibiscus and a coconut and a banana

And incense sticks and vermillion and camphor.

They look askance at first but accept the gifts upon examining them.

‘We worried it was gold, frankincense, and myrrh for a minute’ they said

‘Phew! That stuff is lethal. It spells our doom!’

The god’s voice sounded like a bat hung from his uvula.

Back home, my man is hungry.

‘Where’s my coconut?’ he demands.

‘I gave it to the gods’ I tell him and he is angry.

‘Coconuts don’t grow on trees!

How could you be so profligate?’ he sulks.

‘In Karnataka, they do’ I tell him.

‘Besides, the gods are making coconut biscuits.

They had to shred the coconut meat to mix in the dough.

Their knead is grater than yours.

But I have got you bread dipped in honey instead’.

At that, he calms down and asks for a belly rub.

I pluck the feather from my cap (that I didn’t know was there)

And tickle him in the place his ribs used to be.

I sense a stiffening.

Wales is a happy place.

At times, it is a sappy place.

A day in Wales is a glint in my eye.

(This was in response to a challenge by the writer Rhys Hughes to write a poem about Wales, a country I have never seen)

 

Maithreyi Karnoor lives in Pune, and her debut novel ‘Silvia’ will be published by Tranquebar/Westland in February

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Published on January 25, 2021
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