I like that mountain


I like that mountain in its black pelisse

of fir forests – because

in the gloom of a strange mountain country

I am closer to home.

How should I not know those dense needles,

and how should I not lose my mind

at the mere sight of that peatbog berry,

showing blue along my way?

The higher the dark and damp

trails twist upward, the clearer

grow the tokens, treasured since childhood,

of my northern plain.

Shall we not climb thus

the slopes of paradise, at the hour of death,

meeting all the loved things

that in life elevated us?



Tell me who this young lion is

and how he leaped into the air

as they hunted him

from Musrara to Sheikh Jarrah


Tell me about that gaunt and gallant man

and how a whole squadron assailed him

at Qalandria checkpoint

and could not bring him down


Tell me about that girl who stood tall

as the bulldozer levelled her

like an almond tree in March


Tell this to those

who say we’ve been defeated


Tell” by Najwan Darwish. 

When I think about you


what I call you

when I think about you

and you are not there:

my wild-strawberry

my sugar-lizard

my comfort-bag

my sugar-spinner

my care-chaser

my aurelia

my stone-flower

my slumber-child

my morning-child

my full-forgetter

my window-bar

my moon-hider

my silver staff

my evening glow

my sun-thread

Friedericke Mayrocker. What words would you use? Art by Lakshmi Hussain, whose art you can buy via her site here, or just follow her Instagram feed @thislakshmi

Perfect loveliness of sow


The bud

stands for all things

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow,

of the flower

and retell it in in words and in touch

that it is lovely

until it flowers again, from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

St Francis and the Sow – Galway Kinnel

The wardrobe


might be a good name for a bookshop, small but oddly ongoing //

the kind you’d happen upon, and enter, perhaps alone, perhaps //

not, in a long grown-up coat

The start of “The Wardrobe” by Zaffar Kunail

Blunt pencils, rose-sprigged cup

Ravening through the persistent bric-a-brac

Of blunt pencils, rose-sprigged coffee cup

Postage stamps, stacked books’ clammed and yawp,

Neighbourhood cockerel – all nature’s prodigal backtalk,

The vaulting mind

Snubs  impromptu spiels of wind

And wrestles to impose

Its own order on what is…

“On the difficulty of conjuring up a Dryad”, Sylvia Plath

Where did you think this scene was set? Initially I thought it must be a desk in Islington, overlooking one of the squares, and then I thought of the mid western prairies…

The still explosions

The still explosions on the rocks,

the lichens, grow

by spreading, gray, concentric shocks.

They have arranged to meet

the rings around the moon, although

within our memories they have not changed.

And since the heavens will attend

as long on us,

you’ve been, dear friend,

precipitate and pragmatical;

and look what happens. For Time is

nothing if not amenable.

The shooting stars in your black hair

in bright formation

are flocking where,

so straight, so soon?

— Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,

battered and shiny like the moon.

Elizabeth Bishop, “Shampoo”.