Durrell’s Random Words and My Own

Note: This poem is a random word exercise in which I intersperse my own words with words I selected at random from another work. The words in all capital letters are random words from Lawrence Durrell’s books The Alexandria Quartet.

If you were not in the hot, dusty square that day, the
alarm may well be imagined.
(ALARM MAY WELL BE IMAGINED)

The single shot, the rush of terror
the cries of people and animals echoing
against the city walls and out on to the desert.
(ON TO THE DESERT)

We heard it, waiting on the shaded balcony of the hotel
sipping the dense coffee.
Some local trouble, soon mended, best forgotten,
we thought.

Nevertheless, it is strange
(NEVERTHLESS, IT IS STRANGE)
that we took no more note of the man’s death
or the wild tramplings
other than to have
a few moments of awkwardness
(FEW MOMENTS OF AWKWARDNESS)
later, on our way to the opera,
walking past the blind girl scrubbing at the wrong part of the blood-spattered cathedral steps.

The opera, it was the beautiful one
where the lover weeps
in the snow.

Afterwards, at the restaurant,
smoothing my hair in the mirror
I remembered him, the dead man,
but it was
only the eyes
(ONLY THE EYES)
I saw,
as he had stood
the day before, outside the market
side by side
(SIDE BY SIDE)
with the
blind girl.
(BLIND GIRL)

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