Poetry

The Moor’s Last Sigh 

When I cock my ear

I hear tunes that come from far away,

from the past,

from other times,

from hours that are no longer

and from lives that are no longer. 

Perhaps our lives

are made of music. 

On the day of resurrection,

my eyes will open again in Seville. 

Boabdil, the last king of Muslim Spain 

The Moors ruled Spain for seven hundred years 

and you ruled my heart for seven. On moonless 

nights, ghosts alight, and dream of Andalusia, 

Andalusia…

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Poetry

Moonsmile

Coffee and cigarettes,
Sufis and saudade:
A moment — or two —
Just one moment — just two —
Snatched greedily from
The dark.

Winter and whiskey,
Andromeda and Orion:
There are ghosts that haunt
My old, old house;
And there are ghosts that haunt
My heart.

Watch the stars and sunsets.
Watch the hourglass recede.
‘May you live and love’,
Said he.
‘Mayflies!’,
Said he.

‘May you live’,
Said he.
‘May you love’,
Said he.
And I did.
I did.

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Prose

Puerta del Sol

Can angels lie spine to spine?
If not, how they must envy us humans.

Kamila Shamsie, Kartography

“FOLLOW me,” she whispered. And he did.

She pulled him by his rough, honest hands up the winding stairs, higher and higher and higher.

“Faster, faster,” she laughed. So he did.

They reached the top of the old lighthouse and sat in the old place, legs dangling over the edge. The sun was bright and he had to blink twice in homage.

“Hi,” she smiled. And, after a moment, so did he.

Although he was a simple man, of simple tastes, the view from the top of the old lighthouse never failed to arouse thoughts of art and poetry. But though he was a simple man, he was wise too and he realised how foolish it would be to attempt to capture this in any form. No, he thought, one must live it, savour it, then let it slip away; for is that not life?

“Remember when we were young?” she asked, slipping her hand into his. And he did. He did.

He remembered the day they’d gone up to the hills and she’d danced between the trees and fallen asleep on his lap and the smell of her hair and the cloud that looked like a boat to him and a house to her and the evening as it fell and the little bobbing light they saw in the distance that was an old man who wandered the hills in the dark and invited them to his small, warm cabin for hot chocolate and told them stories about his wife who left one day and never came back and how glad they’d been, just then, to have each other.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, brushing the hair from his eyes. And he pointed out towards the sea at a boat on the horizon.

The sun was setting into the darkling waters and he was afraid for the little boat. Did it not know that the lighthouse had been abandoned for many years? Its cold, stone walls held no guiding beacon. Would it float adrift, or would it crash into the jagged rocks of the coast?

“Mi amor,” she smiled, turning his eyes towards hers. And, for a moment, he couldn’t breathe. “Mi amor, I promise you. It will find its way home. It is not so little or so helpless as you think.”

And as the sun slipped beneath the horizon, he watched her vanish into the aether, a memory once more. And he stared after the little boat until he could see it no more.

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