Cairo smelt of sweet dates, sweat, camels dung, hashish and tangible fear

white noise barter and banter in the bazaars irked her more than a little

also, she noticed that the wily toffs, those gaudy suited moneyed ones

donned the reddest fezzes, wore ‘hammer and sickle’ fashioned cufflinks

bewildered she took the last ocean liner out of Alexandria

across The Med, home to timeworn England’s pastures green

within her productive invention, she saw

towering evergreens mask a nest of ferns

disguise an undergrowth of helpless combs

paint a permanent eventide, never to betray

a murder, self-destruction or a clandestine union

of thickest skinned untamed carefree true lovers

now safe and sound, the bespectacled librarian

read Shakespeare and counted pennies

she loathed bigots, arranged marriages and Chaucer

and, although her mousey disposition indicated otherwise

virginity was an irrelevant thing she could not claim

as her own, less spoken of, timid virtue

on those days when not shuffling dust ridden books

she played the banjo, badly initially, not so later

craved the safe haven of wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

before a beefy John Bull came chasing


were he not immune to the world at large

he could have had her knickers off in a flash

perhaps that was why she adored him from afar?

the year the angry mob sang the monsters praises

in the graveyard, where the good and the great rested

stirrings from high above, had the deceased turning in their graves

wondering just how such an event could have happened

it was a Wednesday, late autumn when she concluded

here, there and everywhere there would be a price to pay for this

come the spilt blood of Western Europe’s repetitive revolution

willing martyrs, since time began, live that dream

self-same Wednesday, a cloudless night of moonbeams and salty spray

she waltzed with an imaginary lover at the end of the outcast pier

to the heart-stopping gnarly waves inherited orchestration

and the ‘stay up late’ choir of libertine gull’s own savvy chorus

wondered if a foetus knew of fear and laughed in its face?

she was pregnant, of course

by whom? that was the question

looking back, I found it easy to respect her

much harder to find common ground

46 thoughts on “LESSONS OF LIFE & HISTORY

      1. By the way if you think I’m certifiable try Steeden jnr at; zoolonaudio.wordpress.com (not trying to sell or anything tedious like that). The lad is as mad as a box of frogs!

      1. ‘Just them’…’never me’…the poem of a young man. I heed your previous advice on saving stuff as this may sit comfortably in the book that, snail like, is still a WIP. More importantly, did you have a fine birthday of wine, song and whatever gals do to make sense of that sentence (!)?

      2. I probably had too much damned wine. In fact I am ashamed by how much. My girls, their fellahs and the wee man are coming round for nibbles and drinks tomorrow. And Mr and I still have our meal to go to doon the road. Bin nothing my friend, bin nothing x

      1. I think a banjo works great, and really suits the time period. There was always someone playing a banjo or ukulele, it seems.

  1. The cufflinks gave me quite a chill. I would be afraid should I wake up in this troubled period, feel sympathetic towards this woman. . . Lovely imagery with scary shadows of reality leaking through. Nicely written!

    1. It interesting you picked up on the cufflinks! You see I discovered some ivory (from days of yore, I stress) enamelled hammer & sickle ones I used to wear when I was working in the finance industry amongst the Eton educated, right wing elite. They served to let them know we are not all like them! A mere game! My sincere thanks for you reading and this comment Ms Reocochran.

    1. Sarah, I found I had to search for your blog…I got there in the end. The link from your comment took me to my ‘write’ page, a most unusual thing! I have followed your blog and hope that that is OK?

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