This entry is part 4 of 20 in the series Highgate Cemetery Poems


Decapitated head

Six fresh oranges
in the short grass
on the grave of the founder
of an import/export company,
born in Aleppo.
A toddler strains against
his mother’s grip: Ball!
How to explain
the Silk
Road, the souk,
the once-unassailable
hospitality of merchants?
How to explain torture,
a feast of agonies called
the magic carpet?
A cricket plays his hit single.
Ball. Ball.
Such longing!
In Syria, they say
a narrow spot can contain
a thousand friends.

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8 Replies to “Import/Export”

  1. I like this very much but feel compelled to ask whether the cricket / hit / single / ball combination was a deliberate evocation of both insect and sport or accidental. Because it slightly confused this slow-witted reader.

    1. Thanks. No, not deliberate. “Hit single” was meant to refer exclusively to music — it’s not really a sports term, though “single hit” would be.

      1. Cricketers hit (a) single quite a lot. I should have made the sport I was referring to clearer I think. But no matter :-)

          1. Meaning, I suppose, that there must be some sort of English national team? How droll. Oh, and look — even the U.S. is an associate member of the International Cricket Council! We must have a team, too. Wow. I had no idea this was such a popular sport. I’m sure it’s all over ESPN-3.

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