the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
i am an unmarried mother
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

emma dotterell

a chance encounter in a chennai hotel bar
tall green-eyed blonde with a dulcet voice
unblemished skin and uncorrupted soul
i am tempted to say virginal
chastity being a state of mind in any case
not an english rose but pretty close
sporting a red top unaffected smile
and characteristic wit
far more ripened in thought
than your average nineteen-year old
vivacious bubbly and full of poise
in a cool unflappable way
her casual comfortable naturalness
free spirited almost angelic

with raw unsullied innocence
and trust which perfect strangers enjoy
she shared the story of her life
as it unfolded in the cobbled streets of cambridge
of pristine colleges and an unassuming river
her first crush and heartbreaks
her outgrowing her environment
her growing wings and flying away

savouring riviera white wine
and fried potato skins with cheese
we talked about world being a cauldron of cultures
how travel 'oh that horrid accident at goa'
imparts a unique perspective a holistic third vision
and meeting people an unmixed high
exchanged notes about life in london
staying at wimbledon park and internalising eastenders
channel 4 and its real life documentaries
she saw live dispatches from the kumbh
theatre at west end webber's bombay dreams
life in unhurried southern india
hinduism religious violence and naga sadhus
and a confluence of individual and cosmic souls

a spirit willing to be reached touched
and then as uneasy waiters drew the curtains
it was past two am and not a felicitous time to be awake
she was gone
like a dream.

( 1 June 2002 )