Rarely did I whisper my erotic poems to you . . .
A single eyelash twitch suffices
To awaken the soul from its slumber . . .
To distress a flock of sand-grouses in their nests
To open the gate of probability
Towards a mutilated poem
That might wail, but never come . . .
Or thus whoop the falling nights!
My own night was not enough
As I stared at the same glare fading slowly into
The blossoms of speech . . .
Perplexed larvae ripped up on the loom of
My own killing letters.
Marble thirst beat me
With a feeble whip.
I aimed thus the spark of nostagia at your secret water . . .
O disdainful passer-by
Let our words fall like hail
On the jujube trees of time
Let us by means of water
Pay allegiance to the metaphor therein
So that poetry exalts in us . . .
Let us see the dead sea off towards its own exile
Let us wait a little . . .
Why are poets first to die?
I first encountered Henning Mankell through his Inspector Kurt Wallander crime fiction. Chronicler of the Winds, however, a fantasy that reminds me of Ben Okri‘s best works, is subtitled “A Novel of Africa.” I am always drawn to fictions in which the magical interrupts the prosaic and swerves between the two. Mankell weaves stories of extreme violence and pain into a narrative that is simultaneously nostalgic (in the best sense of that word; an ache for things that might have been) and emphatically optimistic. Fiction changes the world.