"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE SPELL OF TIME

And there were no more leagues to leave behind
When I first saw the spell of time subside
In the rough rush of happy crowds and touts.
Then you immersed me in your rising tide.
Arrived, we dived into the warm waters
Where mermaids scaled shimmering sunlight’s shafts,
And shellfish shined in pastel pearl parades,
While we conversed in secret codes and laughs.
The days flew by like sea birds seeking feasts,
Sweet nights almost wasted and dogged by dreams,
And yet our hours could be lazy phases,
Each minute stretched and stitchless at its seams.
Now I pray months of wait and hope contract
And ages pass so future leaps to fact.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

HEATHCLIFF


Your face lights up the small frame by my bed,
And your dark eyes talk to my heart and mind;
Yet I will not allow you speak the truth:
You look up at me from another time.


I'd claw grave ground to reach out for your hand -
A fool for times we traded youthful lust -
Even though you forgot my childish pleas
Decades before your blood mingled with dust.


Friday, August 22, 2014

ON THE BEACH

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of the sequel to 'Call of the Caracal'.


“Tell me, are you sure it will work?”  Kashvad stopped and turned to inspect an odd piece of driftwood.  It looked rather like a human forearm.  “Which reminds me, we understand that Sohrab’s surgery was successful at the second attempt and he will soon begin to learn how to use his new arm.  It’s actually going to make him stronger than a normal man so we must remember how to make the most of his, shall we say, unique new qualities.  But, back to my question.”
“Sir, I cannot give you a guarantee.  But I am confident it will work.”  Hushang was looking across the choppy surges towards the blurred horizon.  The beach was cold and the wind delivered such a severe a chill factor that almost made him shiver.  Fizzing crests of waves were being turned back on themselves, the spray creating a fine mist over the grey sea.
“Then tell me, why did you not simply proceed?  Had I not given you the authority?”  Keshvad was ever cautious.  He ran his finger across his fine moustache as if to ensure that it had not taken flight in the freezing gusts.  His mincing walk was deceptive and Hushang had to take quick strides to keep up.
“Well, sir, it is a significant variation of our original plan.”  Hushang was too experienced to be flustered by the old spymaster.  In many ways, he enjoyed playing this bureaucratic game of checking and double-checking so that he could never be blamed for something going really wrong.  So far he had experienced only success and he had often been in situations where unilateral changes in strategy were required and implemented.  However, he knew that one day he might make a serious mistake and find himself needing protection from Keshvad.  After all, Keshvad was the survivor par excellence and it was best to have him on your side even if it meant annoying him with procrastination.
Two youngish women walked towards them.  Despite the weather they were bare-footed and paddling in the shorebreak, having rolled their slacks up above their knees.  They were both strikingly beautiful.  Their heavy coats were open and their lines of their finely cut figures were clearly visible.  When they saw first saw the men it was impossible to make out their faces.  Nevertheless, the presence of two members of the opposite sex added a little bit of fun to an otherwise uneventful stroll.  As if by instinct, they brushed their dark hair away from their faces so that the men would be able to see how pretty they were as the distance between the two couples diminished.
Keshvad and Hushang continued talking.  Both of them were acutely aware of the other’s attempts to redefine the task they were contemplating in terms that would render the other man liable for any blunders.  They were in their own little world.
The younger of the two women smiled first at Hushang.  Both of them had decided without discussion that Keshvad was far too old to bother about.  The other one mimicked her grin and pulled a strand of hair away from her mouth for good measure.
Neither Keshvad nor Hushang reacted and it seemed to the two ladies that they might as well been invisible.  A few metres beyond the men they stopped and looked back.  Then they glanced at each other and shrugged before they continued their exploration of the shoreline.
“Tell me, do you have a personal reason for wanting to protect Sohrab’s woman?  Some romantic objective?”  Keshvad adjusted his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.  A fine spray of rain was evident on the heavily wooded hills that rose up from the narrow coastal plain.  Keshvad winced as if the precipitation was some sort of threat directed specifically at him.  In fact though, his grimace was a reaction to the slightly noxious odour of rotting seaweed that had begun to irritate him.
“Of course not.”  Hushang felt a gust of cold wind penetrate his coat and sting his torso.
“No.  I thought not.”  Keshvad looked at the younger man without moving his head far enough for his glimpse to be detected.  Then he stopped and turned around to face the way they had come.  The two women were splashing each other, stooping to reach the frothy water and, in doing so, exposing the curves of their derrieres under the stretch fabric of their slacks.  As they jostled and jumped to evade the tiny cascades, their breasts jiggled, albeit innocently.  Keshvad sighed.  “No.  I thought not,” he repeated and sighed again.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

WET

Every wet day I watch the wild sea churn
As it drinks up the drops of each downpour
And hurls them hard across the shingly shore,
As if to warn them never to return.
On those black days the charcoal sky can stoop
To hide high birds and touch the tallest trees.
The wind puffs out patches of pale blue tease
And clouds explode like bombs in guided swoop.
Branches drip cold and feed voracious shrubs
And grass grows gold and green in flower beds;
While soaked petals droop and descend in shreds
From stunted sterile stems and stalks like stubs.
But it’s the chill, severe in sodden air,
That makes me wish for springtime’s garish glare.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IMAGINARY IMAGE

I have this imaginary image
Cropped from cryptic conversations
And laboured explanations
That provide a feast for me
Whenever we task ourselves to talk.

This image draws on your pictures,
For your photographs are glorious.
They disclose both goddess and woman,
And they bid me implore and plead,
That icon and image might come to life.

So like a soldier brawling in battle
I'll fight for my objective -
When your image is not imaginary,
And your pictures seem petty.
We’ll stand face to face and laugh,
And regret our reluctance no more.