Michael Ondaatje

Posted in Writing by netscheri on July 18, 2007

One of my favourite and most admired writers. What draws me to his work, is the lyricism of both his prose and poetry, the inventiveness of his imagery. Perhaps inventiveness is not the word.  The juxtapositioning in his imagery, of combining two elements that conventionally would seem strange together. A dream-like quality in his work.


The Distance of a Shout – Michael Ondaatje

We lived on the medieval coast
south of warrior kingdoms
during the ancient age of the winds
as they drove all things before them.

Monks from the north came
down our streams floating that was
the year no one ate river fish.

There was no book of the fores,
no book of the sea, but these
are the places people died.

Handwriting occurred on waves,
on leaves, the scripts of smoke,
a sign on a bridge along the Mahaweli River.

A gradual acceptance of this new language.



It reminds me of ‘A Different History’ by Sujata Bhatt.


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