Bilkish Vahed

The Woman Inside

Tag: love (page 1 of 2)

The Prosaic & the Wild

Loving is easy. In my day-to-day exchanges with strangers and people I don’t know well, often I feel a clear, warm feeling coursing through me. My heart swells as I listen to their stories, or simple comments, observations about this or that. Our common humanity sparks my love which pours forth with no effort. It’s simple and I’m gratified.

Relationships, even though anchored in love, are different.  Repositories of so much stuff – of the individuals and the partnership – accumulated over time, make a relationship a complex animal, full of moodiness, varying flavours, intense whirling swoops and dark heavy dips. But in this very tactility lies its preciousness. 

Egon Schiele, ‘Self Portrait in Jerkin with Right Elbow Raised’ 1914
Egon Schiele, ‘Seated Semi Nude with Hat and Purple Stockings’ 1910

Romantic relationship is much like performance art that requires the other. Only in this edgy relational playing field can one let the subtle bubbles of the deep erotic self rise to the surface. Egon Schiele had an uncanny way of penetrating this self. His art asks: Is there space in the relationship to express the diverse aspects of the self, even those less acceptable, not conventionally pretty parts that are none the less urgently real? Is there space to perform our hidden under the skin desires?

Whilst we crave the anchoring sense of loving “home” with a romantic partner, still our internal antennae are in revolt at the first hint of stifling constraint. In revolt when we find ourselves having to suppress our desires. Cherishing the other is at the heart of relating, but safeguarding our erotic vivacity is paramount, as we grapple to make space for both the prosaic and the wild. 

The Ways of the Heart

My daughter looked out through the passenger window, at me. Standing on the opposite pavement, I looked back. We’d just bundled her many bags into the Uber, as she set off on her long journey back to the US. 

The driver started the engine and she raised her hand to wave. I waved back, and all at once found myself hurtled into a time warp. The moment froze, the years melded – there was my little girl, my little girl of yesterday and the strong young woman of today, looking out the window at me. It’s weird what the heart can do, swelling in my breast, altering my perception in an uncanny but real way.

I’m happy to see her go on her own way, I said. I’ll miss her, I thought. In moments of heightened emotion, love hurts, I felt. 

You & Me



it took me a long time

to see, to finally see

that you never really liked me

not all of me, not me


only a part of me

some part  that enticed you

you wanted a part of me

but there i stood grotesque

oozing all of me


you chipped away

chiseled, hacked and sculpted

tweaked and reshaped

i became your sticky version of me


flickers of awareness

darted in my dreams

skipped and slipped and tripped

disappeared unseen


it took me a long time

a long time to see



When my eyes were averted, you slunk around me

Spinning a tender lattice of awareness

Wilfully piercing my consciousness, forcing me to awaken

When my eyes were averted, you wanted me.


Irresistibly I turned and looked back at you

Smiled, said something, let my eyes laugh into yours

You drew back surprised, disoriented, your radiant face darkened

When I looked back at you, you closed up on me.


Stunned, confused, awash in shame, I collapsed in a heap, grew small

What had I done, I called out to the night, what had I done?


Effulgent comprehension arrived slowly and in its wake,

Indignation, purple anger, rage bubbled and frothed until

Raucous laughter burst forth, my blood ran warm and

I grew large, enormous, and full.



I miss the letters you used to write me,

Chock-full of aliveness and vitality,

Brimming, luscious and uncensored,

Tales of your day to day in raw openness let slip,

Unheeded into the soft container of our affection.


Abruptly a sliver of discomfort has slipped between us,

You write me posts, comments, tweets, texts,

You write to me and to all of them at once,

The silent ones who watch and listen are now a cryptic presence,

Between us, in the midst of us.


The murkiness of otherness has altered your voice, changed you,

But I know the colossal beauty and brilliance of your unfettered self,

I want you back, I want you back again,

Unconstrained by the cameras and the din.

I miss you. I miss hearing from you.

Love in a Time of Silence


Le Silence de la Mer is a film about resistance. Silence as the only form of available resistance against German occupiers by French nationals in 1941. But its potency lies in what unfurls amidst the silence – a connection, an unheeding love that steals into the heart of a young French woman and a German officer.

During the summer of 1941 a novella was penned by Jean Bruller and published in 1942 under the pseudonym, “Vercors.” In German occupied France, the book became a symbol of resistance. French filmmaker Jean Pierre Melville’s classic 1949 adaptation of the novella, coloured by his “own experience of the sacrifices and the painful moral intransigence that resistance demands,” was avant-garde in the way it gave voice to characters who were mostly silent. Pierre Boutron’s  2004 adaptation is true to the original story, but sixty-three years on the historical moment – still vitally alive in Melville – has clearly changed.

“Une histoire d’amour qui ne resemble à aucune autre.”   — The Press

In a small French villiage, Wehrmacht captain, Werner von Ebrennac (Thomas Jouannet) is billeted with an elderly Frenchman (Michel Galabru) and his adult granddaughter Jeanne Larosière (Julie Delarme). Von Ebrennac, who was a composer before the war is unlike what his hosts expect. Polite, refined, idealistic, he treats them with utmost civility.

They, who have to tolerate him in their home, stoically go about their lives ignoring him, even as he stands talking intimately in their midst. And talk is what he does each evening.  Beginning with a polite greeting, he proceeds to tell night after night, his thoughts about literature and music; his great love for France and the French people; his dream of a new dawning over Europe.

The old man and his granddaughter maintain an attitude of indifference and silence, but inwardly gradually they begin to have new thoughts about this man, a German captain. Then there’s the music. Jeanne, a piano teacher, and Ebrennac the composer, share a love of Bach. Bach gives them the poetry to speak sensuously in a space beyond the silence. The old man watches his grandaughter. Beneath her resoluteness he sees her other swelling feelings.

One night after living with them for a few months, Von Ebrennac, suitcase in hand, announces that he is leaving. Stunned, they listen as he describes his disillusionment with his own government, the “propaganda” he calls it. He’s off to the Russian front, he explains, where German soldiers are freezing to death. Unruly emotions seize Jeanne. Tears streaming down her face she follows him to his car. For a moment they face each other as she speaks her first, only, and last word: Adieu.

Fell in Love

I fell in love one day, on a pavement, outside a café, with a man

I laughed wryly and knew, it was my soul

Mr Darcy of today is Prince Charming, he has to be

Glamour, riches, undying true-love, romance.

I laughed wryly and knew, it was my soul

A turning point

Glamour, riches, undying true-love, romance

Odd, unusual I thought, but no doubt significant.

A turning point

The crunching of my tricycle  wheels on gravel

Odd, unusual I thought, but no doubt significant

Leave the tides of memory alone.

The crunching of my tricycle wheels on gravel

Mr Darcy of today is Prince Charming, he has to be

Leave the tides of memory alone

I fell in love one day, on a pavement, outside a café, with a man.

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