Ashraf

A young man called Ashraf Fayadh faces execution by the Saudi Arabian government for ‘apostasy’. Ashraf is a poet and atheist. It is his views on religion that has put his life in danger.

Tonight poets around the world come together to speak on his behalf. To share our poems in solidarity. Here is my contribution.

 

Ashraf

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Clearly no one told Saudi

How can we be afraid of just words

Words well thought fly like birds

And we just have to keep tweeting

Tumbling

Sharing

Swearing

There’s nothing more validly strong

Nothing that could be less wrong

Than speaking words.

We humans are the storytelling mammals

But here we are acting like anmals

What are we doing?

Ashraf.

Daphne

(Listen to Reading of Daphne Here)

Babe.

As you break in the arms

Of an auntie to be tethered to

With cottonwool thoughts

In no language that can be taught

So rocking that ‘just out of womb’ hair.

Stretching like a cat without claws

Surfacing from hibernation.

Into our world of autumnal flakiness.

Darling

They put the clocks back a whole hour

Just to give us more time

To hold your head and mumbling heart.

Child.

Sleeping in the warm

Your eventual exiting lacking elegancy.

Rocking from abstract to realism

In the blink of an eye.

Girl.

You see in black and white and blur

But in the taking of a breath

Your legs set into hips

Daddy builds a turret to tuck you in,

To keep you safe

At night.

Ball games,

Bus lanes,

Veins.

Adding pages to the map

As skin grows to cover a woman’s frame.

Melting Mummy’s heart every day.

Latched into the world with love.

Lovely little lady.

Daphne.