Monday, March 7, 2016


Soon the road tapered
And became little more than a jagged trail -
Parallel twists
Of bare ground
And traces of tyre tracks
Made by wandering wheels.
Then came the hairpin bends,
With no guardrails
To curtail a careless cartwheel’s
Descent into the deep valleys below.
It was time to stop.
Instead of steeply sloped hills
There were stepped strips -
Terraces etched into the tough terrain.
A village punctuated the panorama,
Its creamy mud structures set stark
Against the ambient abundance
Of poplars, maple and cypress.
Houses and overstocked stores,
Shelf-stacked above each other
In countless contours,
Ascending the hillside
Like building blocks
Placed by a gifted child.
Each footpath was a mesh
Of tarmac and timber,
And also a rooftop
For the humble home below.
It seemed enchanted
And, possibly,
Full of tales of simpler, happier times.
But for this supposition
There was no evidence,
Except imagination.

* Masouleh is a picturesque village in the mountains of Gilan, one of Iran’s Caspian Sea provinces.

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