Monday 24 September 2018


I have been meaning to post about my book... a first collection of poems now available to buy on Amazon UK, US and Europe... I'm not sure about Australia, though I would love, for example, my friend Mémé to have a copy (hi Mémé! Will get one to you somehow!). Am working on the Kindle edition for India and Africa... poetry on a device used to seem like an odd idea to me, but my poems have been online in the digital world for almost a decade! So a kindle version seems apt enough.

The book is called ‘Something Beautiful Travels Far’ - the title of my second poem. When I first created the collection with this title in mind I had no idea the book would travel with me across oceans to India, Singapore and Indonesia... I first held it in my hands in hospital (of course) in the Jubilee Garden, my favourite spot at Addenbrooke’s...  then, needle in hand, dreaming of travels and glorying in freedom already achieved... and now, today, back at the hospital, needle in hand... filled with the richest of memories. 

Here is the link to Amazon... in case you feel inspired to buy a copy!  

(the first image and now my blog header was taken by my brother Irfan on Nikoi Island, the tiny eco island in Indonesia where he and Theresa got married - gorgeous photograph, ain't it?!)

Friday 21 September 2018


‘Beauty doesn’t last forever,’ the young one said.
Wise heart, serious head.

Time passes, changes everything.
The recording poet remembers everything.

The curve of this tree, mottled with green,
the conch of this shell I may wear as a ring,
the slats of this chair I wrote a wedding poem in,
the sound of the rain pitter pattering -
even my hair curling,
sharp sting of insect biting,
wish I had done something different thinking -
years thundering along.

‘How does it feel to be forty? Tell me!’
The Dutchman says he is dreading it.
‘Wonderful!’ I say, ‘when you’re happy.’
But maybe I mean free, as maybe he is not.

There are types and types of freedom;
we rein ourselves in, and gallop fiercely on.

At night my bed is a pirate ship
loosened from its moorings.
I fight off shadows of Komodo dragons
and bodies of armoured beetles.
Mulan of the Nikoi night, I tamp down
on fear, and hungry midnight yearnings.

If Frida could, I can -
a motto for all time.

Some beauty never fades.
Some women never age.
Power grows smaller,
cupped in their hand.

©Shaista Tayabali, 2018
(participating in DVerse Poets Open Link Night)

This poem was inspired by my niece Isabella, who provided me with the first line after seeing my postcard of Frida Kahlo and learning a little of her life.

DVerse Poets Open Link Night)

Friday 7 September 2018

BOMBAY: A Return After 21 Years

And then the rain comes down,
but gently, as though it knows 
not to carry a typhoid - 

In the heat, the dripping heat,
I am miles away from the peace 
that comes dropping slow;

But here I find a different peace,
the kind that took 21 years - 
I say ‘took’ and not ‘takes’,

Because it could just be me 
that moves at mammoth pace,
a slow pachyderm, if that’s the right term.

©Shaista Tayabali, 2018