Thursday 30 April 2020


A tiny bowl slipped out of my hands this evening
as I stopped to gaze at a bird in flight,

light streaming from her wings, the curve 
unimaginable to me, heavy on the floor of the world.

It was a dessert bowl, crystal, part of a set.
They are always part of a set, these cups 

and saucers that fall and smash around my feet.
A pool of diamonds glinting in concrete cracks,

so beautiful, so dangerous. My heart missed 
not a beat, as though inured now 

to my unintentional, careless ways. 
Sweep after sweep is not enough; 

my faithful eyes find more shards, jewel bright, 
shining still, for my faithless eyes. 

© Shaista Tayabali, 2020

A few days ago I heard the news that my friend and MA tutor, the Cambridge poet and novelist Caron Freeborn, had left this world, suddenly, and almost without notice. I didn’t know she had been recently diagnosed with cancer; I only knew I had been thinking of her and missing her. I wrote to her, but only silence came. When I heard the news, the silence was even more numbing. In the wake of a poet leaving, the air sounds a little different. 

Into the companion of my shattered glass bowl, I floated something green, and every day she grows, reminding me of something... something I forget when the light is bleak.

(a poem shared with Dverse Poets, on Open Link Night)


Glenn Buttkus said...

You had me at "in the wake of a poet leaving, the air sounds a little different" Your poem is equal parts sad and hopeful. I'm new to reading you, so is there a medical reason for the dropsy fingers? I have CIDP, and I drop stuff daily.

Frank Hubeny said...

Nice last two lines about faithfulness. I am sorry about the loss of your friend.

indybev said...

A touching and thoughtful tribute to your poet friend. Good write.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So sorry, Shai. And she was so young. Life is darned hard. Your heart must feel a bit shattered like the little bowl. I, too, am moved by "In the wake of a poet leaving, the air sounds a little different." AndI can SEE you, looking up at that bird. Keep looking up, kiddo.

Kim M. Russell said...

Thankyou so much for joining us, Shaista, and for sharing your poem. I’m so sorry to hear about Caron. I love what you said: ‘In the wake of a poet leaving, the air sounds a little different’. Are you still in Cambridge? If so, you’re not that far from me in Norfolk.
I love the title of this poem, which conveys fragility so succinctly: the fragility of life and love and friendship. The poem itself is delicately constructed and the language is delicate too. You’ve captured the moment and the bird with just enough detail (how beautiful that curve ‘heavy on the floor of the world’), using more concrete detail to focus on the bowl and the way things fall apart. I especially love the link between the ‘pool of diamonds glinting in concrete cracks’ and ‘more shards, jewel bright, /shining still, for my faithless eyes’.

Kerfe said...

I had that silence from a friend too--it's a strange feeling, not unlike the shattering of glass. There is sorrow but you have also planted some hope. (K)

A Cuban In London said...

I'm sorry for your loss. That's a beautiful poem. I hope you and yours are safe.

Greetings from London.

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