Fantalle Mountain.JPG


This morning I stopped

to listen to a robin singing

in the tall birch tree

that overhangs our garden.


It is mid-August in Wales

but the robin’s singing

was the wistful and shrill

notes of an October song.


And it’s on cold clear

mornings like this

that I am reminded

of a small town

called Matahara

in the Rift valley

A lorry stop

on the badly cambered

rutted out road

from Addis to Djhibuti.


And of staying overnight

in the old school

over-shadowed by the cauldera

of Mount Fantalle


And woken by the sounds

of camels and the shouts

and whistles of men

returning safely again

from the long search

for nourishing pasture

emerging through

the rising dust

that shrouded and gauzed

the clear light of morning.


The sight of a man

running and carrying

a new born camel

on his shoulders.


And the sounds

of the joy of children

welcoming the men

their fathers, uncles

and brothers safely

back to their homes


All this will stay with me

for the time allowed

as I hear that the rains

have failed again.




Published in “Uncertain Times” Octavo Press 2016.

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