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Musings on Self-discovery in 4 Seasons – Belinda Zhawi… The Little Orchestra

As part of The Little Orchestra’s mission to bring a passion for classical music to young audiences, we are forming connections between diverse, exciting contemporary artists and the composers we love, such as Vivaldi.

When Vivaldi published The Four Seasons, he included four sonnets to accompany the music. Though not known as a poet, it is thought that Vivaldi wrote the poems himself. As part of an event by The Little Orchestra, Vivaldi Recomposed, they asked Zimbabwean born writer and the ICA’s Associate Poet for 2017 Belinda Zhawi, to write her own The Four Seasons inspired poem.

belinda

Photo by Amaal Said

As a fan of the composer, Belinda allowed the music to take her on her own journey, with very few similarities to 18th Century Venice. The poem is a reflection on her own self-discovery, described in four seasons.

 

Musings on Self-discovery in 4 Seasons
………………………………………………………………………………………….. i. – mania & joy

“Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.” –Yukio Mishima

The sea twinkles under the sun that I learnt to sing for myself from my mother who also sang for herself. I was a shadow, a dark corner, curls of smoke rising out of my face but all that couldn’t hide those eyes that said come closer, come if you are brave. Long white dress – cotton top, silk bottom, head wrapped in silver specks, dangled a bangled left wrist, red lips diluted pink, turquoise string on right wrist, muddy bare feet. In the song I sang I only knew how to shudder – in that thin space between dream & lucidity.

………………………………………………………………………………….. ii. – not all that glitters

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

We met in the first month of autumn at a house party we’d both gate crashed. Malcolm X glared from the front of his t-shirt; he danced badly, drunkenly, feet locked in a ferocious fight as he mouthed the words to the song spilling out of the sixfoot high soundsystem sat in the cleared sitting room. There was something of a lost night in the blackness of his eyes which reminded me of mine. Locked somewhere between a bump & grind we finally kissed, he tasted like cheap rum. Since the day he staggered out of my life, nightly, gently, he blows back in like that first night in the first month of autumn. I always wish him to kiss me. Even last night when I dreamed him, fully masked in rot.

 ………………………………………………………………………………. iii. – winter hues & blues

“Winter’s the time for comfort… and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

I’m an empty bag, in cold wind. A hollow chest that rises & falls not knowing whether it’ll ever be flooded with butterflies. I’m in need of a warm bed that’ll hold me close till I sink in. I’m in need of a body that fits mine till our skins open as one heat, the kind that spreads over all it is laid on. We’ll play slow songs that make us feel nostalgic about a past life we aren’t sure we died from, days we think we lived. Dry earth & stones that our shoes could not shield us from.

 ………………………………………………………………………. iv. – meeting myself in the sun

“If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

when i first saw you, you’d not bloomed into verse yet
your face was tight & barer than the simplest of sentences
now, you’re like a love letter full of the lost promises
only found in spring when I look at the rose bushes &
cherry tree that grow in my mother’s front garden

your words are honey-
suckle juice & water
when my mouth’s dry

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1 thought on “Musings on Self-discovery in 4 Seasons – Belinda Zhawi… The Little Orchestra”

  1. The whole thing is exciting. Love the sensory- filled imagery that comes with spring. What a memorable line – “when i first saw you, you’d not bloomed into verse yet”. And I enjoyed reading and listening at The Little Orchestra link. Thanks!

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