"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)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

PRETTY BEACH

Green hills lounge serene and deeply dappled
Above pristine turquoise water’s glories,
While boats bobble lazily like prized corks
And men with leather skin fish for stories.
Beyond the piers the jetties joust and stand
Stretched across the supreme gleams of the bays,
A gilded sun’s rays pierce wispy white clouds
On these warm jewels of early autumn days.
Across the water's shell of flashing gems
The surf beaches show off each frothy wave
Charging loud like a child at rowdy play
And crash as if compelled to misbehave.
But here almost silent ripples parade -
Meek jade pageants beside the mangrove glade.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

THEY SCARED A CHILD

They scared a child
By predicting a war -
Charts of nuclear fallout zones
And pictures of Nagasaki.
But they did nothing
Other than buy more bombs.

They tried to frighten a teenager
With tales of falling dominoes -
Charts with geography scrambled
And pictures of Asian soldiers.
But they achieved nothing
Other than obscene devastation.

They tried to alarm a student
With the finiteness of resources -
Charts of empty oil wells
And pictures of Arab leaders.
But they prescribed nothing
And others found more reserves.

They tried to divert a young man
With cries of fiscal crises -
Charts of dubious intent
And pictures of doubtful content.
But they introduced nothing
And made us all pay for it.

They tried to convince a man
That dictators were to blame -
Charts of armies on blazing sands
And pictures of smart weapons’ strikes.
But they killed for nothing
And as a result nothing changed.

They tried to alert a tired man
That the earth was heating up -
Charts of ambiguous records
And pictures of ice melting.
But they did nothing except cast blame
And spent billions doing it.

They tried to terrify an old man
With the rise of extremist Islam -
Charts of terrorists' territorial gains
And pictures of grotesque atrocities.
Should I care if they do nothing again
When this time it might just work?

VISITOR

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a novella set in a dystopian but recognisable future.

It had become Mai’s habit to spend the late part of the morning under the shade of a frayed annex that hung on the side of her partner’s rickety caravan.  Here she was able to assemble a midday meal for her partner while keeping an eye on the comings and goings in the shabby city of tents, old caravans, and parts of kit homes that served as a fortress and resting place for the people who had adopted her.
She was still not used to the dust that seemed to coat every breath she took.  The heat was still oppressive but, because she wore an old cotton business shirt as a dress and no more, she was able to bear the extreme temperatures.  A very large man must have owned the white and navy blue pin-striped garment.  It swam on her but it allowed her much precious modesty.  Mai’s partner had not objected when she started to wear it so he days of her being forced to go naked were, to her great relief, gone.
Mai was also grateful that the beatings had stopped and the nights of rough sex were becoming less frequent.  She suspected that her partner had found another interest.  At first she was frightened by the prospect that she would suffer as a result.  She tried to put the memories of the grisly executions of her fellow-passengers out of her mind.  But every now and then the tears would come.
She saw little of Sohrab.  His mistress seldom left the old shed she inhabited and made almost constant demands on him.  Their last conversation had occurred on the occasion of another drunken party from which visitors like Mai and Sohrab were excluded.  He looked tired and underfed when she crawled into the shed.  The sight of her startled him.
“Shhh!  It’s only me.”  They fell into their customary embrace.  Rather than casual lovers they were more life brother and sister now.  “Are you OK?”
“I will live.  I hope.  You look better.”  Sohrab scratched the wounds left by the operation to replace his left arm.  He had not had an opportunity to wash for three days.
“Sohrab, I am sure that your government will rescue you.  It might even pay a ransom.  For all we know, your release might already be the subject of negotiations.”
They continued to talk without any aim other than to encourage each other to survive their individual ordeals.  Mai never acknowledged that it was unlikely that her own government would make any efforts to save her.  Sohrab never asked her about it.
Mai’s partner was something of a leader in the anarchic polity of the community.  He was a drunkard and he was cruel.  So he was perfectly suited to making decisions and not caring about criticism.  His appearance was imposing.  At well over 190 centimetres tall he towered over most of his peers.  His stomach was huge and bore testimony to his love of beer and carbohydrates.  The raids he led on nearby towns were largely aimed at stealing alcoholic beverages.  His hobby was a large motorcycle.  Sometimes he organized raids to secure spare parts.  Obscene tattoos adorned most his body and a thick silver chain wound its way like stitches through the flesh on the left side of his stomach and chest before it formed a tight circle around his left arm just above his bicep.
Making a meal was not difficult.  Most of the stolen food was of the heat and eat variety and Mai had a gas stove that had been quite cleverly adapted from an old barbecue.  She had plenty of time to watch the surrounding countryside.  On this morning a man’s figure was evident on the blurry horizon.  As he walked through the heat waves and became more defined it was evident to Mai that he was not from this land.  Indeed, he resembled Sohrab in skin and hair colouring and in the determination of his stride.  Her heart leapt in her chest.  This man could only be coming here for one reason, she thought.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

PATCHWORK

 The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a novella set in a dystopian but recognisable future.

Zohreh regained consciousness after a few minutes.  She was disturbed at first by the sound of the helicopter’s blades chopping the cool sky.  All her senses were groggy.  She tried to remember but failed to make her thoughts snap together into a coherent whole.  It was as if the usually sharp edges of her short term memory had been planed and sanded.  The interior of the helicopter was a completely new experience for her but, for a moment, she thought she was inside one of the cars favoured by the priestly elite and their sycophants.  Then she understood that the vessel was, in fact, flying at high altitude.
For several seconds she stared out of the bulbous transparent cockpit in amazement.  The slopes of the mountains were behind her and the land below was unlike anything she had ever seen before.  In terror she realised that the ground was rising up towards her, as if she was falling.  She closed her eyes and thought about screaming.
“It is a short flight.”  Chamrosh seemed unconcerned by their plight and his composure, rather than his words, had a calming effect on Zohreh.
The greenness of the patchwork patterns of the countryside also sent Zohreh a message of tranquility.  Farmlands and orchards dominated the higher ground at the feet of the mountains.  Herds of cattle and sheep grazed in large enough numbers to be clearly visible from the air.  The mountains themselves were heavily wooded with species of trees unfamiliar to Zohreh.
As the foothills leveled out into lush lowlands it became clear that they bordered a narrow coastal plain.  A vibrant blue and grey sea soon caught Zohreh’s eye and she watched the sun’s twinkling rays make gilded pictures out of the water’s ceaseless movements.  Along the shoreline were extravagant structures, some of them with huge windows that caught the sun and beamed a blinding reply to the lofty source of the afternoon light.  As they got closer to the grand edifices Zohreh could see that some were houses and others were multi-storied monuments to wealth.  Until this moment she had never imagined that such buildings could exist.  Suddenly the apartment blocks of the new settlement revealed themselves as shambling erections foistered on ignorant people by rogues and swindlers.
“I hope this will be the last time.”  Once again Chamrosh turned to Zohreh and lightly jabbed a tiny syringe into her left arm, just below her shoulder.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

ASCENT

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a novella set in a dystopian but recognisable future.

Chamrosh ate and drank standing up.  His eyes searched the trees and bushes for any threats.  Zohreh sat, leaning against a poplar tree’s bare lower trunk and enjoying the chance to breath air that did not taste toxic.  To her it seemed that the wood around them was alive.  Birds called incessantly and small land animals made rushing sounds as they slipped unseen through the foliage.  Her mind turned to her time in the same landscape with Sohrab.  She wondered whether she was actually being rescued and whether, somehow, Sohrab was involved in the plot.
“Go.”  Chamrosh picked up the canvas bag and helped Zohreh to her feet with a pull of her left arm that jerked her shoulder and head so that her hair was uncovered.  He looked the other way as Zohreh adjusted her tent and tucked her hair away again.
The path varied between a gentle rise and steeper gradients that stretched the muscles in the back of Zohreh’s legs and left her breathless.  As they gained altitude the terrain changed dramatically.  There were no more trees and the low scrubby shrubs gave the dry brown ground only a patchy covering.  At times Zohreh was amazed by the sight of spectacular panoramas of dusty mountain slopes, with the sun’s glare seemingly turning the auburn topsoil a grainy series of black and grey shades.  Between the arid inclines a blue sky hung motionless.
An hour later the clear sky had turned foggy and the air had become frosty and damp.  Mosses and lichens gave the ground a green tinge and made the rocks on the trail they followed turn slippery and treacherous for the careless walker.
Just as the wintry atmosphere was making Zohreh shiver and long for a warm change the sun broke through again and the fog started to dissipate.  There were small spindly bushes and the occasional conifer tree marking the track ahead of them.  Zohreh also thought she could see in the distance a flat square of land that had been marked out somehow with white lines.
“Stop.”  Chamrosh rummaged in the bag for something.
Zohreh was looking at the slopes falling away in front her.  Part of the way down the steep descents she could see another layer of fluffy white mist that was so thick she had no hope of guessing what was beyond it.  A stabbing pain went through Zohreh’s left upper arm.  She turned to see Chamrosh standing close beside her.  His powerful body was braced as if he was waiting to catch her if she fell.