A week before Easter our Cyprus hotel

hosted the season’s last two conferences –

‘Moscow Niardmedic’, ‘Nestlé in Russia’.

The spacious, tiled, white walled lounge, the free bars,

the terraces with pergolas were filled

with Big Pharma salespersons on a jolly –

the many ethnicities of Russia,

all seemingly impassive, inscrutable,

seemingly suspicious of strangers.


April 3rd on the St Petersburg metro

a bomb was detonated between stations…

April 7th the US Sixth Fleet,

below the horizon due south from here,

launched its missiles against Syria…

That afternoon an Uzbek exile

drove a lorry at a crowd in Stockholm…


One evening, in the resident pianist’s break,

a Russian improvised – then played a slow,

soft melody all his compatriots knew.

They sang sotto voce, suffusing the space

with a wistful murmur.




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  1. #1 by Alex Cox - October 31st, 2017 at 19:00

    Excellent, and very timely. Thank you.

  2. #2 by Mary A Clark - November 22nd, 2017 at 23:09

    That song – nostalgia for what might have been? I’ve heard it sung (if I’m guessing the song correctly) by the veterans of the International Brigade. Very moving.

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