THE YELLOW PALM

    0
    328
    Robert Minhinnick
    Robert Minhinnick's Selected Poems was published by Carcanet in 1999, followed by After the Hurricane (2002). In 2003, the same publisher issued his translations from the Welsh, The Adulterer's Tongue: An Anthology of Welsh Poetry in Translation. His latest collection is King Driftwood (Carcanet, 2008). His debut novel, Sea Holly, was published in 2007, and shortlisted for the 2008 Ondaatje Prize. In 2010 Robert Minhinnick will publish Fairground Music: the World of Porthcawl Funfair (Gomer), with photographs by Eamon Bourke, and his first collection of short stories, In Goliath's Country (Seren) “After the Stealth Bomber” was originally published in The Guardian; “Yellow Palm” appeared in King Driftwood.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    I watched a funeral pass –
    all the women waving lilac stems
    around a coffin made of glass
    and the face of the man who lay within
    who had breathed a poison gas.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    I heard the call to prayer
    and I stopped at the door of the golden mosque
    to watch the faithful there
    but there was blood on the walls and the muezzin’s eyes
    were wild with his despair.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    I met two blind beggars
    And into their hands I pressed my hands
    with a hundred black dinars;
    and their salutes were those of the Imperial Guard
    in the Mother of all Wars.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    I smelled the wide Tigris,
    the river smell that lifts the air
    in a city such as this;
    but down on my head fell the barbarian sun
    that knows no armistice.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    I saw a Cruise missile,
    a slow and silver caravan
    on its slow and silver mile,
    and a beggar child turned up his face
    and blessed it with a smile.

    As I made my way down Palestine Street
    under the yellow palms
    I saw their branches hung with yellow dates
    all sweeter than salaams,
    and when that same child reached up to touch,
    the fruit fell in his arms.

    SHARE

    LEAVE A REPLY