Chapter ten – got my Masters, a lot of scope

I’ve crafted my own home and life
A good daughter, sister and wife
Studied hard, full of ambition
But I also have lots of fun
Left the Philippines, saw the world
Lots of experience, swirled and whirled
Different jobs, different challenges
All these things giving me a buzz
Sometimes luck is not on my way
Sometimes no sun, the world is grey
But I carried on, full of hope
Tried something else, no need to mope
No tradition, no convention
Swim the ocean, climb the mountain
Whatever I do, my own voice
Always my way, always my choice

Strumming the story of my life

Each note touching my heart and soul

Like cutting my heart with a knife

From a stranger who knows me whole

Quietly I plead him to stop

Looks at me and tries to console

An old oak tree as a backdrop

From a stranger who knows me whole

And so he carries on playing

Like he’s reading my life in scroll

How he knew that, I keep asking

From a stranger who knows me whole

Strumming the story of my life

From a stranger who knows me whole*

A Kyrielle Sonnet 

Me, myself, I
Passion through poetry and fiction
Glad I could do what I’ve chosen
Passion in doing everything fully
To swim and snorkel in the sea
Passion in learning new things
Life is full of swings and zings
Passion in teaching English
Don’t worry, I’m also British
Passion in meeting friends
Being me, don’t do pretends
Passion in shopping till I drop
I like my top, don’t do swap
Passion in ringing my Mom
Like giving myself a balm
Passion in skyping the son
Telling his pun, it’s quite fun
Passion with cycling with Him
Sometimes going to the gym
Passion in seeing the world
Kaleidoscope as it whirled
Passion in experiencing life
I think I’m a good housewife
Passion with different culture
Eyes not covered with a blinker
I think I’m living my passion
I always feel that I have won
I’m grateful to this brilliant world
Such dazzling and wonderful world

One more day to illuminate
Me on the priorities of life
I don’t want to be a dead weight
And I don’t want any strife

One more day to storm
The challenges and hindrances
I’m sure I could still perform
What’s all this fuzz?

One more day to pool
Resources for the common good
I don’t want to be cruel
With the frosty weather I withstood

One more day to create
Significant impact on you
I need you, I tell it straight
Before I say adieu

One more day to haunt
Me with the scenes of our lives
I have no wealth to flaunt
We’ll see each in our afterlives

One more day to need
One last kiss before I’m lifeless
My very last good deed
Before I spin the axis

One more day to pay
The price of my sins
There must be some way
To play the violins

I finished the course Modern Masterpieces of World Literature from Harvard University. I’ve got 98% and I’m so grateful. I’ve read the books and passed all the section quizzes.

The play Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka has elements of the oral tradition of Africa, the kitchen sink realism of 1950s-1960s British theatre and the existential dramas of Ionesco and Sartre. He uses music and dance to construct the main plot and ideas of Death and the King’s Horseman. He was struck by the eerie similarities between the Yoruba god Ogun and the Greek God Dionysus. The Yoruba god Ogun is associated with life, wine and destruction. Death and the King’s Horseman is immersed in historical theatrical traditions and also based on an actual historical incident where a colonial officer intervenes in the ritual suicide of the king’s horseman. Theatricality offers Soyinka a bit of an alienation effect, the necessary distance to think about events and speak indirectly about political issues, thus enabling the play’s doubleness in considering both the historical moment and the present moment in Nigeria. The scene where the colonial officer and his wife don ritualistic ancestral masks associated with death, ignorantly expropriating them to dance a tango, is one example of Soyinka mixing and combining traditions on the theatrical level to show the dynamic multi-layered-ness of cultures in the play.

Both Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri use their global experiences as material for their stories. Through their fiction, Rushdie and Lahiri both attempt to bring readers into a world that might be in some sense beyond imagination. 

The stories in Rushdie’s East, West often address important issues in India’s postcolonial era, including forced marriage, political assassination, family planning and high birth rates. The short story “Chekov and Zulu” uses a range of literary and cultural reference points, including Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings and Corialanus. “Chekov and Zulu” centers on the event of the 1984 assassination by Sikh bodyguards of Indira Gandhi. In analyzing Rushdie’s story, “The Prophet’s Hair” the story’s moneylender doesn’t care about the vial of the prophet’s hair in terms of its religious or sacred value; instead, he is mostly intrigued by it as an object to be collected. “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers” the story explores how some objects gain their value and become relics by being touched by a sacred figure, whether a prophet of a religion or an actress in a film.

Generationally, Lahiri was born 20 years after Rushdie and is more of a diasporic writer than a traditional postcolonial writer. Linguistically, Lahiri’s stories and characters operate in standard American English; Hindi fluency is not extremely important to the ways her characters speak. Lahiri’s fiction is in part shaped by her experience in an American MFA (Master of Fine Arts) writing program at Boston University. Lahiri’s theatricality is evident in her story “Temporary Matter” because many of the descriptions are like instructions a director might give to a set designer and the story is dramatic in its intensive reserve, gesturing to personal secrets and to tensions in the domestic sphere that linger under the surface. The Interpreter of Maladies has this quote: “Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.”

What brings joy?
Him Indoors and son
My mother
My siblings
Our love, our health, our career
That we’re still here

Our garden
Flowers, trees and pets
Air we breathe
Sun and moon
Challenges we take with love
Experience we share

water moved softly round my toes
and sultry air caressing me
wispy clouds across
boats rise and fall in the lock
one lazy hazy day
sea lay without a ripple
cupped my hands and drank water
drips falling from lips
ah, the sweet taste of heaven
cool and refreshing
rough winds shake the darling buds
more lovely and temperate
palm trees swaying
clouds scudding across the sky
heaven knows why
have picnics by the seabed
open sunlit grass, cloudless
splashing with the waves
friends waiting for the sunset
the joy of summer
light of the silvery moon
never ending stories

As the birds soar up the sky
And the sea as blue as your eyes
Builds its nest in the tree, magpie
I’m buoyed up as you are my prize

White foams of the sea are rising
And the dreamers flicker in doze
Don’t forget the stars in bidding
Weariness of the day in prose

As the leaves fall down from branches
The crimson flame of the sunset
The joy I’ve waited in ages
The music heard from the quartet

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