19 February

Night Story

by Lee Harwood

The house is quiet       empty

Nervously I await your coming - or not coming? -

through this night


A mystery - not taken for granted


Like a folk story   a children’s story

“Over the hills at night she came

through the dark through the storm

past the crashing shore

along the wind-battered cliffs”


but real


Sometimes the words don’t come

There are no words for such times    this


the house is neat for your arrival


our kiss and touching

beyond words


18 February

'Immigration control'

by Paul Peter Piech

16 February

A Tisket, A Tasket

by Joan Owusu

Mama and I are sharing special moments

on the verandah.

A strange babbling streams towards us -

a big girl! a woman? (I'm not sure)

sways along the sun-strewn path from the back gate.


Mama, mouth slightly agape, stares at her

with silent questions.

At four years, I don't understand this

rare pantomime, but I know something's odd:

(now, I think she was hysterical, and about 18)

just laughing and crying, jabbering like mad!


Mama consoles and gives her something -

clothes? food? I'm guessing;

she becomes quiet - until - giggle, giggle, giggle -

she's off again!


I'm thinking it's not safe (she might be mad

and dangerous), but I'm sorry for her. Mama

can always shut the door quickly. Impatiently,

I'm willing for her to go - go on. Not go away;

that feels unkind.


She's made an impression on me, OK!


Her wild-woman shimmy, voiced into a cheerful

A tisket, a tasket, my brown and yellow basket,

bewilders me - it's funny - but I'm too awe-struck

and well-taught to laugh.

Mama mutters something about 'crazy' -

she's frowning a little, but not grumbling.


My tummy slackens when she shuts the gate

behind her. A soft fear lingers.

Will she come back?


Half a century later, I still see the red -

red, yellow, and other colours in her hair;

the red in her dress; the torn-woman's dervish;

hear the echoes, 'my brown and yellow basket'.


15 February


by Mimi Khalvati

If I am the grass and you the breeze, blow through me.

If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me.


If you are the rhyme and I the refrain, don’t hang

on my lips, come and I’ll come too when you cue me.


If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove

when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me.


If mine is the venomous tongue, the serpent’s tail,

charmer, use your charm, weave a spell and subdue me.


If I am the laurel that wreathes your brow, you are

the arms around my bark, arms that never knew me.


Oh would that I were bark! So old and still in leaf.

And you, dropping in my shade, dew to bedew me!


What shape should I take to marry your own, have you –

hawk to my shadow, moth to my flame – pursue me?


If I rise in the east as you die in the west,

die for my sake, my love, every night renew me.


If, when it ends, we are just good friends, be my Friend,

muse, brother and guide, Shamsuddin to my Rumi.


Be heaven and earth to me and I’ll be twice the me

I am, if only half the world you are to me.


14 February

I love

by Ian Hamilton Finlay