An old crumpled map
I carry about with me in my head leads
down twelve black wrought
iron steps and along a green prickly street
well known to its residents.
occur each side of steaming luminous
above the park as gold-leaf edged clouds separate
and bald pillars of light beam
down on to tarmac creating those small dark pools
that don’t exist.
‘Old man Hermitage’ with his string
of shallots passes alone
in his misery
all the world tilted against him and his existence.
He lives vaguely like a silhouette.
Life takes no pride in his sadnesses and I feel
whatever it is I do feel
on Gooseberry Lane on my way to wherever it is
for whatever reasons the day has decreed.
At the wicker copse
to November’s bones I sit above the city to watch.
Here the white
dead are entombed in their integrity, robed
and majestic on Thunder Hill
their prospect uncluttered, their city below
respectful of those it did not know or appreciate
or sit for a while with
What I see is a history of uniformity
convergence, continuing poverty
and wealth, indifference, a magpie in a juniper tree
a sky that is blue for a moment
above the city’s
and trace, its minarets, domes, colonnades
and all those invisible vaults
stuffed with unshakable
By Leila Farjami