I remembered you for your whitewashed walls and the old trees which grew in the old gardens;
This was the old world, before colour, and as a child I hated the monochrome ekra;
I shuddered behind feeble old people in their twilight chairs –
Which they had us push out into the winter-sun’s verandah;
I remembered your old people smell and the old people love for young kisses –
That world is gone now,
My grandfather is gone
And most of his nephews.
All that’s left is men stumbling in bars, secretly whispering desires to other men.
At kha-ieid‘s – under an old conifer with spiky cones – once I found a baby sparrow
I tried to protect it from the hounds –
Uncle Eric’s best mates.
Into the temple of my palms, I took it.
Suddenly from deep within me
A sudden impulse – to crush it into a feather ball – arose.
What stopped me, I wonder,
Was it the thought of blood that calmed my systole,
Was it the eventuality of squirming that blunted my lust?
Whatever it was, it quietened my mind;
I don’t know if the chick survived the season
But we both made it through that hour.