They gave us three options: conversion, death or jizya [a special tax for non-Muslims]. We have no money, so we left.
All across the Nineveh plain the lights are being snuffed out. Crosses driven into the hearts of the last of Mesopotamia’s Christians.
Christians. These Assyrians, speaking Aramaic, the language of Christ, have been loyal throughout the occupied centuries.
Centuries of subjection since the burning wind of Islam came, unbidden, out of Arabia.
For the earth and the heavens have now fled, This is now the time of the second death.
No weasel words here, no turning of…
Such airy valedictions cannot span this bridge in time What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is very definitely mine. We both can hear the quiet roar of our own new found land As time drifts to a stop and as we focus near and far We no longer stand amazed at the hollow rancour of public life And have no more time for the mere indulgences of strife. We look too much upon these empty places, the sands That have run out, sans mistress, husband, lover, wife. Faces that bloomed at noontide fade like a plangent song Sung as we…
Shadow behind the sun, the echo of her words, Meanings stuck in transit, the music of the Byrds, Brimming lives at stake, my friend, as all hearts ache; Years pass by like phantoms, passions of the heart Stalk in silence the silence of her heart, faeries take their part. Forget what you remember, give and never take. Lift the veil off the mysteries, see the lady of the lake. Silky torn up lace Mirrors the wind in play, lighting shades drift night to day. We need what’s been forgotten, the friendship of the ring, We plead and beg and borrow…
It is not the cruelty of children that angers me
But that my hesitation to commit the word to air
And, aye, maybe, to the ear, the heart, was treated as an affliction
By those with the polished shoes and starched aprons;
Sometimes I was not even there when they mocked me but I knew
What they did and ‘never-a-bother-it-was-to-me’.
But it was. I was brought up to be brave but inside I was bruised, battered.
Young only young.
I tried to pity my accusers: so narrow of soul, so clipped of speech, so incapable of reach. I had my…
Blue as forget-me-not blue
Blue as an Alaskan blueberry
Blue as an English May morn
April egg shell blue.
Endurance is a flower
A bulb in winter’s depth
A rare-repeated wonder:
A sin we must forget.
In this world-of-make-believe:
Cancer, the death of children,
Are fallen autumn leaves.
I see this road before me
A road I walk in vain
A road through Trawden Lancashire.
A road that’s not the same.
All roads lead to heaven
And all roads lead to you
And all these roads are empty
Of your eyes of deepest-blue.
I loved the rainy mornings…
feel the ripples of fear
don’t hesitate, draw near,
people spend their lives avoiding ‘situations’,
running away from ‘situations’
consequences of such avoidance —
sins of omission -
frozen secrets in rocks of ice
leak out into Trilobites
staring out of the deepest past
it is, of course, possible for
any woman or man
to stop this dance of death
by just being who we are,
every act of being expresses
a nostalgia for the innocence from which we arose
this awareness flows into the everyday life of the mind
leaving those ripples of fear far behind
it is a…
Abstracted in Afghanistan
I pick cankers for a simple
choose a rhapsody in blue
love lapis lazuli
I paint the Virgin Mary
with ultramarine pigment
extracted from lapis lazuli
where I am with the brave Kalash,
in their snow-capped mountains,
of the Hindu Kush,
The blue-blue skies
reflect their blue-green eyes.
These remnants of Alexander’s Greeks
hid in their high mountain valleys
before the slaughter of 1893,
when Abdur Rahman Khan
forced the conversion or death of the remaining unbelievers;
with unacknowledged irony renamed their land Nuristan
‘land of the enlightened ones.’
There had been many pagans and…
I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense only — silence, exile, and cunning.