Tag Archives: Michael Ondaatje

Who are the best love poetry writers currently alive?

I have answered this at Quora.com.

Mr Ondaatje is not necessarily a love poetry writer, but for me, everything he writes is poetry and he is a poet, singing “unknowingly the message and the promise from the lotus-gardens beyond the sunset”.

This is a poem that I love:

Speaking To You

by Michael Ondaatje

Speaking to you
this hour
these days when
I have lost the feather of poetry
and the rains
of separation
surround us tock
tock like Go tablets

Everyone has learned
to move carefully

‘Dancing’ ‘laughing’ ‘bad taste’
is a memory
a tableau behind trees of law

In the midst of love for you
my wife’s suffering
anger in every direction
and the children wise
as tough shrubs
but they are not tough
–so I fear
how anything can grow from this

all the wise blood
poured from little cuts
down into the sink

this hour it is not
your body I want
but your quiet company.

Unremembered dreams

“She entered the story knowing she would emerge from it feeling she had been immersed in the lives of others, in plots that stretched back twenty years, her body full of sentences and moments, as if awaking from sleep with a heaviness caused by unremembered dreams.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Art – Domenico Fetti, Sleeping Girl

World Book Day

For World Book Day I nominate the book that made me travel. The words were so powerful that made me live in the truth of its images, walk the paths of love, anger and anguish of the telltale hearts roaming a world without maps… And I felt the desert, dissipating in my veins, the blood throbbed of life and traveling sand.

“The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names… Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Vanlifer of the heart

The heart has a puzzling shape
The moment you thought it broke
Becomes twofold.

The moment in a relinquishing evening
You thought it whole
It breaks
Until the morning
When the shape is restored
And your feelings pour like early April rain
Over thirsty lilacs…

“The heart is an organ of fire” –Michael Ondaatje

It flickers and lights the embers of any glib desire.


















Art by Georg Janny.


Engleza de joi/ Silt

Silt = sand, soil, mud, etc., that is carried by flowing water and that sinks to the bottom of a river, pond, etc.

“Seas move away, why not lovers? The harbours of Ephesus, the rivers of Heraclitus disappear and are replaced by estuaries of silt. The wife of Candaules becomes the wife of Gyges. Libraries burn.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje’s words are plain wizardry about visible wars and the invisible, the ones we battle everyday with us, shadows, dust and smoke. Nobody has molded love and life in such astounding stories.

He was born on the 12th of September, 73 years ago, in Sri Lanka.










Art by Vincent van Gogh.

You’re my flame

You’re my flame…
in the pitch-dark monster lair
and beacon in eery glares of ugly nights.
You are never away…
You are always in the array
of blooming next day.
Sometimes I do prey
other flames gleaming
But I am just dreaming
at the same organ of fire…

…”The heart is an organ of fire.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English patient.

Rafal Olbinski










Art by the amazing Rafal Olbinski.

Michael Ondaatje

I like what Mr Ondaatje’s writings do to me.
They take me to a world without maps, to where I can find love in the beat of the wind and the shine of the desert.


“All I ever wanted was a world without maps.”

“A man in a desert can hold absence in his cupped hands knowing it is something that feeds him more than water.”

“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”


Joan Miró, Vines and Olive Trees

Art by Joan Miró; Vines and Olive Trees, 1919.