Moroccan Carpet              

Carpets are magic: we all know that.

You rise on them to travel 

as smoke curls upward.

I carried this one back twenty years ago

rolled in Arabic newsprint,

tied tight as a sausage with string.

It’s here on my floor,

my sandaled feet rest on it,

it came from Ouazarzate, 

in the dry south;

It reminds me I was there, 

that I knew what to look for, 

what to carry home: 

the warp and weft 

of craft and story.

This carpet used to be golden,

its zigzags and slant squares

threads of Moroccan light;

each lozenge glowed;

there was blue in it of indigo,

yellow of Sahara sand. 

Its fringe, paprika red. 

The colours fade,

gold to grey, crimson to rose;

yet it will always contain the algebra 

of words and silence, 

the unknown x 

of patient creation,

each black stitch the mark

of someone unknown to me 

beginning again.


Rosalind Brackenbury is the author of twelve novels, a collection of short stories, and six books of poetry. Her latest novel, Becoming George Sand, has been published by Doubleday (Canada), by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (New York), and by Piemme (Milan) as L'amante di Chopin. She is currently working on a new novel, and her latest book of poetry, The Joy of the Nearly Old, is available from Hanging Loose Press. Rosalind lives in Key West, Florida, and was a founder of Edinburgh's Shore Poets in the 1980s. At present Rosalind is Writer in Residence at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.   

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