The indomitable Analice Silva

We’ve seen and loved Wonder Woman on screen but today, I’d like to share the story of a real life Wonder Woman. Analice Silva was born in abject poverty in the remote Brazilian village of Esperança. At the tender age of 3, she was abandoned by her family; given away by her father to a woman who enslaved her- offering only a bed for hard toil every day, and food on the occasions she fancied it. A slave at 3! Even when she returned home at 8, there was no welcome reception by her family, only more violence. So she ran away. She raised herself through petty works before finally meeting her husband, Evandro. Her only condition to the marriage was that he not hit her. She kept up with his philandering and floundering because he kept his word. But there was only so much she could put up with and finally left after 6 months in a loveless marriage. All she had with her was enough money to cover a one way trip to Rio de Janeiro. She was crushed but not broken. She had turned to doing household chores to sustain herself when she discovered that she was pregnant. But life wasn’t done taking swings at the woman and it was a stillborn baby at 7 months. She almost thanked her stars for how would she provide for this baby in her condition.
It was in 1980, at the young age of 37 that she discovered that it takes 10 years for a smoker’s lungs to recover after quitting. She apparently wanted her ‘pink’ lungs back. As a lifelong smoker, this scared her and she didn’t want to wait 10 years. That evening, she smoked her last cigarette and took up running; 16 kilometers in flip flops on the sidewalk of Copacabana under the new years’ eve fireworks.
She never stopped. She ran every day that January. She had run her first marathon and her first 100k within the year. She later moved to Portugal where she continued her love for running and ran a whole lot more, thousands of kilometers over road and trail worth more. Her longest run was the Volta ao Minho, a grueling 385 km race.
Analice was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. Yes, she was still trading blows with life and wasn’t ready to hang up boots just yet. Even with the growing cancer, she ran. Her last run was the São Silvestre de Almada in December 2016. Analice passed away in Feb, 2017, almost 4 months to this day.
Running is such a seemingly individual sport but then there are stories like these, people like her and you realize you are kindred spirits, sharing love for the same things and its suddenly one big community activity! A way to escape drudgery of everyday life.
We need more Analices, to show us what is possible. Maybe we have such Analices we don’t know about. She didn’t live a glorified life, she didn’t preach. She only loved what she did and she shared that joy. She grew beyond her past. So maybe running away from your miseries, literally, might not be the worse thing in the world. Let’s support such Analices, let’s cheer them on, let’s become them.

P.S. The pictures are not mine, only the adulation.

Living, loving and losing with depression

The widest smiles
switch to the biggest frowns.
Internal only, mind you.
For all’s well to the world.
A reason, you ask?
There’s none.
Just an expansive feeling
of dark nothingness
and nauseating despair;
All encompassing
progressively expanding.
Never sated.
Even when it engulfs my everything
And me.
Impelling to a newer abyss,
bigger and lower than before.
Taking with itself
smiles and dreams,
hopes and aspirations,
joys and memories of joys.
Extinguishing even the smallest
flickering ray of hope.
Clawing at the dank walls
with every ounce of being,
trying to hold on
with long torn out nails
and a dreadfully worn out heart.
But the mind overturns
the battle of the heart.
Almost as instinct,
it pushes for the last breath;
A waspy, sharp inhale
of life itself.
A renewed vigor,
a last ditch effort
to rise above
to rekindle the suffused.
And lo and behold
It works!
Gasp by gasp,
bit by bit,
finding unseen footing.
The well-hidden light
secure in the heart,
Now a steady flame,
small but strong,
growing with each heave,
egging and spurring,
cushioning missteps,
lifting through the falls.
The memories seem to return,
faint recollections of another life,
in days of sunshine and rainbows;
Chuckle and laughter,
warmth and purpose,
refreshingly normal.
The burrows on the face
invert to the ghost of a smile.
All’s well in the world.
Finding it in the heart
to conquer the darkness.
And then,
with the slightest of nudges,
back in the chasm!
As dark, as scary, as cold
as I remember.
Is this my ‘normal’ now?
Permanently and inexplicably?
Can I give up?
One word and it’ll all be gone,
the pain, the torture, the anguish,
replaced for peace at last.
Or do I strive?
To find it in myself
to grow back those claws
to embark once over?
One more time?
And another?
And another?

The prompt for Day 30 of NaPoWriMo, ’17 is to write a poem about something that happens again and again. While the premise was general, I have been meaning to write about fighting depression for a very long time and this prompt looked like a good opportunity. It took me over a month to actually write what was essentially a task for a ‘daily’ prompt. However, I guess you’ll agree that the content deserves thought, consideration and consequently, time. Some of it is indeed a personal account but a lot is also testaments from people who suffer with cyclical anxiety and depression. I hope you find solace and strength through this poem. May we be better together.

The stories of the Stars

The stars they speak
silent joys
If only you stop
to hear whispers.

They guide
weary travelers
anxious lovers
and sleepless nocturnals

They´ll tell you secrets
if you only listen
with an open heart
to a free mind.

The prompt for Day 29 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write on a specific, concrete noun taken from one of your favorite poems. I´ve chosen ´stars´ from” I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth.

Weekends done right

Weekend tripping
Highway zipping
Music blasting
Wine flowing
Giggles and laughter
Gossips and chatter
Makings of memories
Moments like treasuries.

The prompt for Day 28 of the NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write Skeltonic verses. My poem is inspired by where I am right now, on a road trip up in the mountains in a quaint little village with some of my favourite people, sitting right across from me playing a raucous game of cards right this moment.

The Ball of Delights

It is an art
to gobble
one pani puri
whole in a go.
That concoction
Of sour and sweet
crisp and cool
in one mouthful
“A li´l more sweet”
I implore the vendor
busy serving
a teaming melee
That gasp
of satisfaction
over every ball
of perfection
If the Gods
shared their secrets
they world´ll know
our shared adoration.
The prompt for Day 27 is to write a poem that explores the sense of taste and mine is inspired by the tasty Indian street food of pani puri.
PC- The Quint

The Legacy of Cursive

What would they think

of squiggly lines,

scribbled over
ephemeral paper.
Would they know,
of sonnets and ballads
of heartbreaking love;
of treatises
of war and peace;
of the heroism
of mere mortals;
of wisdom
of the ages.
Or would they
dismiss it
as tech archaic
swept with history
Rudiments and vestigial
of a time bygone
With it
told secrets.
The prompt for Day 26 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write a poem that relates to how future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist. My poem is inspired by the dying art of cursive writing.

The monsters under the table

The tale of the night
dark and silent
Fun and games now
but life and death then
What lies under the table
what realm does it belong
humanoid or alien
and just how sinister
I´d cower
night after night
until sleep
would offer its pity
A cool white sheet
spread shroud-esque
my only respite
from the horrors beyond
And then I grew up
and those monsters there
they came alive
only across the table not under.
The prompt for Day 25 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write a poem that explores a small, defined space and I am writing about my dreaded bedside study table.

The equivalence of War

What is a battle
but the serving
of self
to another.
Willful loss of mind
for the pleasure
of a distant
mirage of ruler
The two warring
opposite in sides
but one
in all else.

The prompt for Day 24 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write a poem of ekphrasis inspired by the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Mine is inspired by this rather striking and haunting art:

Image result for medieval manuscript marginalia

The Incidental Warriors

Mountains,
gentle giants
mooring the river
reining her forceful advances
mighty.

River,
bashfully naughty
meandering through mountains
forging on her path
incessant.

The prompt for Day 23 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write a double elevenie. An elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is.

Going cactUS with cactI

My dear friend Doo Dwiddltus,
Just got a cactus.
With an incorrigibly non green thumb,
He’d like a guide that makes things dumb.
So listen up, dear chap
Your rearing skills may finally get a clap.
Cacti don’t ask for a lot,
Just keep them some place hot.
They don’t take much space
So be considerate of their place.
Those thorns might prick
If you tend them with an ick.
Water them once in a while
Every so often they’d make you smile.
They do blossom, oh yes!
A shy, modest bloom, I’ll ‘fess.
They may not offer shade
But a silent friend you’ve made.

 

The prompt for Day 22 of NaPoWriMo 2017 is to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war.