Poems of Place
I remember that day sorting socks by the sea,
snow on the waves, numb fingers, sky grey.
HAMdillah ‘assaLAMeh across the Aegean Sea.
(Jabalya, Gaza, July 2014)
I see you smiling at me.
Bright eyes, mouth open, mid-giggle.
Your brown hair tied back in a pony-tail,
pink hairband, pink hearts on your shirt.
Just like my granddaughter.
(Beslan, Russia, September 2004)
She grabbed a corner of heaven
to spread over the man
with the smile on his face
and the detonator in his hand.
Explosives strung like Christmas tree lights
over the children’s heads.
(Maeshowe, Orkney, Scotland)
I have been here since the beginning.
I am the dance and I am the dancer.
I am the song and I am the singer.
Why are you here?
The poppy appeared in my flower bed,
the careless product of a forgotten planting.
Shy at first, it held its vibrancy tight within its bud.
But who can contain such glory?
(Canon Beach, Oregon)
In our spot, we walk barefoot on the hard sandy beach,
we jump over the waves as they slide in and slide out,
we shiver as the Pacific tickles our toes,
we feel the sun’s kiss on our day’s walkabout.
(River Wye, English-Welsh border)
On the steep and lofty cliffs reaching for the sky
above Tintern Abbey along the River Wye
you composed a poem that sweetly tells me why
it’s in Nature where I walk.
Pounding on my neighbour’s door, I pointed
to the rainbow poised on top of the meadow.
‘I’ve got to find the pot of gold at the end’,
I fall asleep at night,
I try to bring to my mind’s eye all the
moments of the day and
give thanks for
They conspired against me,
those merciless wood spirits.
They saw me coming,
my head full of grievances
and they plotted
to steal my precious wares.
Happy am I for I have lived today.
I have had a glimpse
of the place to whom I pray.
Leave it behind.
Leave the backpack,
soaked in seawater,
drenched in terror.
Leave it behind.