Daily Archives: September 8, 2019

The New Divan: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal


Every composition session is different – there are many contributing factors which lead to a day’s creation in the genres of longer poem. I recall being on Rab Island in 2004, & creating 12 tryptychs worth of Axis & Allies in a single day – 240 lines. Keats, while scrambling about the Isle of White during Endymion managed 50. Thus, returning to The New Divan, I simply whistled through two poems as opposed to last week’s projection of one completed & several doodled at per session. The two are Paradise on Earth by Fadhil Al Azzawi, & Ephesus Ghazal by Jan Wagner. They are the last two poems in the collection, actually, & it was on hearing Robin Robertson’s translation of the Ephesus Ghazal, & his admittance that ‘he didnt really rhyme’ which started this whole project in the first place.

It was a perfectly delightful morning, Indian Summery almost, & Daisy was also enjoying an early morning strut. Today’s compositions took place in two places – the first was near a wind-farm as you top the Lammermuirs on the A68. The second was in a delightful spot on the Lauder-Stow road.  On that same road I filmed a Pendragon Post, talking about the New Divan – it seemd apt. After here we went to Stow for a bit, where I filmed Daisy for an idea I have about her presenting history shows to dubbed on voice overs, with the first one being called DAISY & THE SECRETS OF THE PICTISH KING LIST. Then, on the return via the Sutra Aisle road, I paused at the foresty place to dash off a poem from THE NEW TRUTH - my new & main poetical creation for the rest of 2019.  But I digress too far, & let us now enjoy – I hope – the second & third full poems of THE NEW DIVAN.




FADHIL AL-AZZAWI: Paradise on Earth

I see it as I leave the inn
The dark of night, an evil djinn
Pursues me close, each step I take,
These steps shall shudder as I shake
Dogs furious, a-bark behind
Like hunt-track wolves, outflung from mind,
I must drive this road’s solitude,
I must sing madly, loud & crude!
Dervish disguis’d as angel slips
Out from the mosque, threats on his lips,
Waving his stick thro’ air at me,
Hey, you are losing your life!” he
Screams, “You have lost your life,” Adam,
Did you not know its forbidden
In this world to drink Eden’s wine?
But in Paradise, hey, that’s fine!
Go drink that wine, its bountiful
& free, search for the beautiful
Eyes, bountiful houris, gratis.

Oh master of my days, where is
This place, lord tell me where we are.

He points his stick up to a star,
“There,” utters he, “Eternity,”
Twinkling… blazing… “Up there!” says he,
Fluttering as the falcons rise
Evanishing in splendid skies!

I do not move, stricken with doubt,
I dare not move, Hafiz steps out
Arriving as he always does
As of-a-sudden surprises,
“My friend!” he laughs, “Why worry so?
Their walls are high & you have no
Wings there to fly – no – let us make
This mortal rock an angels’ lake ,
Look at these mountains rising up,
For when the flood oerflows the cup,
These seas, these oceans, all aswirl
With fish & gorgeous whales which whirl
About this Godufactured Earth,
Where even serpents maintain worth,
We must remember to release
Snakes from their cages, whom, in peace,
Shall twine around those fine branches
Of our tree – happy, glorious -

What more will we need than that?



JAN WAGNER: Ephesus Ghazal

With tyrants who cavort like gods,
Our days cut-short at shortest odds,
Of these severe was one in faith,
His painters perpetrate a wraith,
With shaggy face & eyes like sleet,
Lads seven underneath his feet,
Prepar’d for freedom, so they hid
Themselves before Dawn lifts its lid.
Cavebound, the dog curl’d at their feet,
That loved them all with love complete,
While they first slept the Emperor
Gave rocks in cartloads the order,
‘Block up the entrance!’ Still they slept,
Dispersing trances, by them crept
Long centuries on centuries,
So deep that sleep it seems death is
Enmesh’d with slumbers – angel’s hand
As gentle as a grazing land,
Did turn them… dreadful, delicate;
Depending on which way the foot
Did point – to Heaven, down to Hell –
Limbs rolling as lads dreamlands dwell.

Eroded rocks, awoke hungry,
Thinking new morn was what they see
Just one night old; so sent to town
Their youngest, keenest, skills a crown,
Who found a bakers where once stood
The court, the baker’s face of blood
Drain’d white, straining for friends, in fear –
The proffer’d coin engrav’d, a clear
Depicted face, some king long dead,
“He was the emperor,” someone said,
A whole town came to gawp & glare
At this young marvel standing there,
Whose uncles & great-grandchildren
Were lang syne dust, distant aeon
In which he tried to grow a beard,
The townsfolk thought this very weird,
Tho’ simmering their pots were set,
They shrank Ephesus’ parapet,
To distant dots, even before
The millet cook’d; they wanted more
To see the cave, & when they did,
The other six no longer hid,
A clan of seven spread from death,
Who’d somehow shar’d eternal breath!



1: Edinburgh Book Festival: The Divan Session

2: The New Divan: Genesis

3: Greenshoots

4: Final Greenshoots

5: The Song of the One Who Pours the Wine

6: Paradise on Earth / Ephesus Ghazal

7: Knowingly Willingly

8: Smoke

9: Electrocardigam / The Great Axe