A Portable Paradise
by Roger Robinson
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I'm speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can't steal it, she'd say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room - be it hotel,
hostel or hovel - find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.
© Roger Robinson from A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press, 2019)
A British Sign Language (BSL) Interpretation of ‘A Portable Paradise’ by Rinkoo Barpaga
Roger Robinson is a writer and performer who lives between London and Trinidad. His first full poetry collection, The Butterfly Hotel, was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize. He has toured extensively with the British Council and is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen.