On the Verandah

Outside on the verandah, the night-air
is sweet, the moon is fair, the wind blows
warm across the desert sands.

Tonight, southwest of Kandahar,
the night sky will gleam with the scintilla
from a martyr-bomber’s detonation.

Helicopters will stream like tremulous wasps
into Zhari district, ferrying back remains
from a shattered infantry battalion.

The wind sweeps in from the Sea of Faith,
the sound of human misery mixed in
with its turbid ebb and flow.

There on the verandah, a boy sets down
a bowl filled to the brim with apricots,
fresh from Damascus, fragrant as revenge.


  1. Nailed the ending. Awesome! BTW, I mentioned you to my poetry group last night.

  2. Simply brilliant!Thank you....

  3. It's I who have to thank you for support and encouragement.

    And... mentioned in a poetry group meeting? I'm honored, and suddenly feel very, very scared. But thanks for continuing to read...

  4. This is excellent.
    The form of the poem fit will with the movement of water.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Short link - http://bit.ly/s4verandah

  6. I adore the last line...

  7. i liked that a lot from one poet to another

  8. Makes you think. Thanks.

  9. Fine piece, Sam--deeper than word playing and into the area where poetry engages the mind, bribes it if you will, to look at ugliness (the subject)through beauty(your words.)

  10. Quite compelling.. within such beauty is such ugliness!

  11. "Dover Beach' has long been one of my favourite poems, for its sheer beauty of language more than anything. This compares well!

    I like both your allusions and the way you update them. But the armies are still ignorant, and here the Sea of Faith is itself a source of the misery.

    Your last verse is interesting. At first I thought you were subverting Arnold, being more hopeful after all - but the irony of the final phrase pierces like a stab wound.

  12. nice sam...i like how the middle stanzas play against the outer...and the sweet as revenge is a great closure...nice man...

  13. This is beautifully crafted - subject matter handled deftly from beginning to end ... nicely done. I enjoy reading your work.


  14. wow..love the contrast here sam...sent shivers down my back...the war and then the warm scene with the abricots..could almost smell them...excellent

  15. Grateful for the chance to read this again--still evokes the same awed reaction. Every image so sensuous and so deadly.

  16. fragrant as revenge - wow, powerful images here and so contrasting. I love it!

  17. Beautiful & violent at the same time. Amazing descriptions of the helicopters buzzing in the distance. The end gave me this vision of a young boy sitting and eating these fresh apricots whilst looking out over a smoking city . Loved this.

  18. Powerful... very vivid imagery... the ugly beauty of it all... well done!

  19. So...As great as usual then?
    I am continously blown away by your poetry, you continue to be an inspiration!

    I would love to get your opinion on my poem:

  20. Wow...really, don't think I need to add to the praise. Your write this week has left me speechless...doesn't happen often! ;)

  21. The contrast of peace with the dish of dates, the night atmosphere, and the violence that blooms like an evil flower in the distance - that is lovely in expression, terrible to contemplate. But we must all face these horrors, if only vicariously, to remain true to ourselves and to reality.

  22. This is a striking play on Dover Beach, a poem of which I never tire. Certainly the sense of ignorant armies is the same. It interests me that you've also retained the image of the Sea of Faith, which Arnold depicted as retreating. And that your last stanza offers apricots (which feel various, beautiful, and new), only to turn them into edge.


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