August 12th, 2022

for Salman Rushdie


Tonight there’s no good news:

the Earth’s on fire; a writer has been butchered

for gifting us fiction twinkling with esprit;

détente between the West and East is ruptured;

the needy bear their hardship like a bruise.


Heating up but thinking most of me

I step out to the porch,

to where my beer reposes keeping cool,

glance up and snaggle abstraction in the thatch

of slack arachnid traps there billowing free,


a full-on Halloween, not cotton wool.

Need to get the duster out, I think

but instantly rue the thought

noticing the happy spiders slunk

amongst their webs, then empty skins they pull


eight fingers from like gloves, new gauntlets taut.

Interest piqued, I surf some videos 

while taking my tipple, watch slimy legs unfurled,

somewhat hideous

but gorgeous too: renewal scenes we ought 


to celebrate, the cast-off casement curled 

and crispy like the spiked shell of a conker

we gardeners burn if we’re fastidious.

But maybe that’s the way all things grow stronger?

Maybe that’s the world.

◄ A Nidderdale ramble


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Tim Ellis

Mon 22nd Aug 2022 21:03

Thanks Greg. I think you'll enjoy Satanic Verses. I read it about 30 years ago but I think it's the best of the Rushdies I've read, certainly better than Midnight's Children which I thought tailed off somewhat towards the end. I was in fact backpacking around India in 1989 when SV was published and I wrote a very long poem based on the experience which I have never made public yet. I might post it on WOL soon, but I haven't decided.

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Greg Freeman

Mon 22nd Aug 2022 11:07

Interesting tone of rueful resignation in those final two lines, Tim. I ordered a copy of The Satanic Verses the night I heard of the attack. Least you can do, I guess.

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