Project Description

Vahni Capildeo

Vahi Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo (Trinidad; UK) writes both poetry and prose. Her poetry includes No Traveller Returns(Salt, 2003); Person Animal Figure (Landfill, 2005); The Undraining Sea (Egg Box, 2009); and Dark & Unaccustomed Words (Egg Box, 2012). Her prose has featured in Iain Sinclair’s London: City of Disappearances (Penguin, 2006) and Trinidad Noir (Akashic, 2008). Capildeo’s recent writing was inspired by her work for the Oxford English Dictionary. She currently volunteers for Oxfam and writes for the Caribbean Review of Books.

Links to recordings:

After ‘The Wife’s Lament’.

You hear? She’s off again.
A misery.
Say I’ve been there too?
An ocean
asked longer in those days
meant the crossing,
what could be on board was different

screaming at wingtilt
would not bring on the shooting just
surprise pure
costing invisible carbon unreckoned
deeply unmeasured
the clamber and sinking of oddities
undersea I’m thinking
since I was caught

luminous as those uselessly
evolved unadaptable lodged
in the conduit
shivered with crossfire
that family.

Any newcomer cut out
new channels for strife and grief.

Like an interpreter
he cleared off.

Drought yomped the gardens.
One day
fragrant grateful
belonging to houses.
Next day
thrown down
the hardness of mountains
fires and thorns who’d put
a door in that? stow away
longlife goods binding muttering
lashing fast labelling finally
way beneath notice or the risk of news
without light
yet not out of reach of heat?

This makes you smile?
For your sheets are cooler
indeed you choose to keep them so?
Not singed by dreams
while seeing off each hour?
Lucky for true.
So often to turn back
not to turn back.

Till something worse than no change

chance that
strikes as cold as iron
as potentially magnetic
as likely to be equal in lethal or trivial use
as kind to handle
as sure to follow
below hearing level
susurration filings
collecting as if escaping
patterning obliquities
a field of likes

brings about
like us or not

an always.