Tuesday 24 March 2015


(for Lola Roberts)

If I could believe
this was fated,
each hour, each act -

infinite mistakes,
all carefully counted,
I might relax

and spin lazily
in my own orbit,
name my moons

and be fearless.
That was ever the plan
from the moment

I didn't die.
Or maybe long before
my mother named me

Shaista -

when I was a twinkle
in the sky.
Do parents still say that?

I believed it.
I believed I was a star
fallen plucked precious

jewel. If I could believe
why not now?

© Shaista Tayabali, 2015
screen print 'Harvest Moon' by Sally Elford - you can find more of her work at http://www.sallyelford.co.uk

Sunday 22 March 2015


I bought a treadmill.
What would Thây say?
Would he smile and shake his head

or look bemused the way he looked
that day I waited in line
to ask a question that did not need


The birds are busy and my shoe is broken
and my foot turns out and in
to awkward positions. My unfocused eyes

make nausea of the green world around me.
Oh dappled light, what would Thây say?
Walk outside!

Thây who is struggling to sit upright,
is recovering from the stroke,
which left him paralysed and comatose;

Oh Venerable One
who took three months to drink
a quarter cup of tea,

who watched the full moon patiently
like when he was sixteen,
and Têt promised endless treats

of moon cakes and dragon dance
and calligraphic Buddha chants.
Oh Patient Impermanent One,

these broken steps are made for you;
these perfect steps I make for you
make me free.

© Shaista Tayabali, 2015
first image prompt via Magpie Tales

Sunday 15 March 2015


Somehow it is already the middle of March, the day that did not bode well for a certain Roman Emperor. What would Caesar make of his day of doom transforming into Mothering Sunday? Into cards and flowers and cups of tea, lovingly made…

Didn't the year only just begin? Was I really in India only a couple of months ago? I feel as though I am lagging behind my own world, and that I shall catch up with myself at some later date, later year.

My mother is painting the bannister and the doors with fresh coats of white paint. Yesterday I walked with my father at an impressive clip, his long strides eating up the overgrown grass of our garden, my feet scuttling to keep time with his. Nothing on the cherry tree, I pronounced. And today, suddenly, he informs me it is in bloom. Snowdrops and daffodils are enjoying their brief coincidental meetings in clusters around the path that leads from my little den to theirs.

For four months I have had a strange occurrence with new eyedrops dilating my pupils. I have mini cataracts in both my eyes too. Cataracts! Sometimes I don't know whose body this is that I am inhabiting. Sometimes I wonder what other shapes my life could have taken had I not destined myself for the writing life. Would I feel less distraught every time my eyes stumbled? How unimaginative I am that I cannot be anything but this addicted wordsmith for life.

But that's just this life. Next life, I shall return as Keeper of Hedgehogs or An Ambassador for Pandas. A Pambassador.