Bi Scott - Language and Diplomacy




Beaked birds flying above the papyrus
of my tablecloth approximate flight
only in our minds: what seems to us

so quaintly authentic, this life-like
(haven’t you seen it all in Egypt then?)
scene of local flora, fauna, light

is – face it – just colour stamped on cotton,
cheap at that, nowhere near convincing.
What of this small bird, darting up the stem

of my wine glass, mirror imaged, seeking
like an unleashed alter-ego to escape
and soar on spirit thermals. Will it take wing?

Shall I fly too? Yes! Here’s to hope – ah, too late:
I toast. It falls. Pigment beside my plate.


The minutes counting out each hour
swell with the weight of what’s still to be done
and expand time’s contour, demands
pending like the sweep and curve of pregnancy.

Late afternoon in Sidi Bou Said
and there are no hours here, only shadows
stretching feline over white walls, desires
tracing the whorls and lances that St Louis,

patron saint, forged with his Berber princess
in this village touched by the boundless blue
of hope. Some still claim that hope’s but desire
or demand yoked to impotence: futile.

Hope? The silent surge of fecund shadows
from wrought hours and iron caged windows.