Poems to share

A Portable Paradise

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, £9.99)

With kind permission of the author

Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide and was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. He is an alumnus of The Complete Works. His latest book A Portable Paradise was chosen as a New Statesman Book Of The Year and won the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019. 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.