The Last Poem

i.

And we danced, yes we danced

Around and around till all the wine was poured

And all the leaves fallen, in dusty swirls

In the memory of those who danced no more

And for the exiled sadness of a new home

ii.

So many roads have been walked

And so many craters have flowered

But in Herat* I waited as long as I could between windowless walls

For the words that danced, for lines that flowed

Just before the gutless rain started to fall

iii.

If you meet her, tell her I was nearly there

I nearly loved her for ever more

I would have heard her last poem

And caught her ink-stained eyes in mine

And would have nearly caught her last fall

iv.

The diesel and dust that caught in throats

The diesel and dust that made eyes sore

Kept all glances down to bullet-strewn streets

And too many floundered in burka-hidden shame

While those with guns shamelessly hunted for unprescribed words

v.

And so we dance, yes we dance

We dance to make circles round

To not forget the names that have not been found

To clear throats and eyes of unforgotten sounds

Without words not heard for the tears in which we drown

*Herat, in Afghanistan, lays some justifyable claim to be the ‘world’ capital of poetry — or did

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