The Moroccan

Where had he come from, this pitiful derelict

cast away dying from a moving truck?

From little white boxlike home on searing sand

sheltering under the tall green fronds,

an elegant Riad from more prosperous days,.

or a stifling windowless den in a rabbit warren souk?


Small boned and surely quick moving once,

still with feverishly brilliant black eyes

and ruthful gap-toothed grin at times.

Dark skinned and with deep precocious lines and furrows

just able to weakly whisper thanks in three languages.


Only vestige of comeliness remaining

the beautiful long straight spunsilk silver hair

which the nurses attempted to cut short

for reasons of hygiene and their own convenience,

in spite of his obvious distress, but just in time

persuaded a Sumo topknot was also viable.


So he died unmourned, unloved, unnamed and alone

but in such a precious shining silvery silken shroud

when they loosed it round his shoulders at the end,

more lovely than the rich jewelled trappings of some ancient king.












◄ In the deathwatches

A Hopeful Tail ►


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jennifer Malden

Wed 17th Aug 2022 15:10

Wow! never expected such positive reactions, very encouraging. Thanks so much Frederick, Tom, Adam, Keith, Stephen G and Stephen A, Holden, for the likes, and Ray and Keith for the kind comments. Keith, your Moroccan sounds very like this one, he was so upset at the idea of his hair being shorn off, quite understandably, the only beautiful thing he had left. As you saw, Ray, his image stayed with me for a long time. I don't know who had brought him in, probably the police. H could whisper Italian, French, English and presumably Arabic too. Thanks again to all.

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Mon 15th Aug 2022 21:56

A beautiful sensitive piece of writing Jennifer! I couldn't help being moved by it as it elevates the status of an anonymous man by description in such loving detail. Quite outstanding , an I think Keith's comment adds extra weight to the story and fleshes it out in his own way.

Ray x

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keith jeffries

Sun 14th Aug 2022 21:18

This nearly brought tears to my eyes as I was in Rome a couple of years ago when I met a Moroccan who was a vagrant and living in a park. Fortunately I speak Arabic so we were able to communicate. He told me his life story which was of a man rejected, confused, with failed relationships and a need for love. He was strangely handsome but his clothes were rags and he was barefoot. When I read your poem I was back in Rome listening to a story. Out in this world there are many like these who through no fault of their own are cast into poverty, the likes of which we can never know.
A poem to touch the heart strings
Thank you

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