A Portable Paradise

And if I speak of Paradise,

then I’m speaking of my grandmother

who told me to carry it always

on my person, concealed, so

no one else would know but me.

That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.

And if life puts you under pressure,

trace its ridges in your pocket,

smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,

hum its anthem under your breath.

And if your stresses are sustained and daily,

get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,

hostel or hovel – find a lamp

and empty your paradise onto a desk:

your white sands, green hills and  fresh fish.

Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope

of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

from A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press, 2019), © Roger Robinson 2019, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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