World Poetry Day 2021

Happy World Poetry Day. Even in the stasis of global lockdowns, poetry still transports anyone to any time or place, real or imagined, should they only ask. This poem terminates at Lalibela, Ethiopia, sometime in early 2011.


The dancers shrug off the world. Everything that moves here

moves from the shoulders down. We drink tej and compare with

Fanta Orange. Then dance with the dancers, clumsy, white with brown.

A thousand years past, faith slammed into the rock and kept

slamming. Mountains bore churches. More people came and keep

coming, flecking the hills with fires, life seeking purchase.

We drink tej in the smoke-filled hall and clap to drums,

our sore legs throbbing. Round the fire, dancers shrug off the world.

We drink more tej. They beckon to us, brown shoulders bobbing.