Clair by Ruswa Fatehpuri


by Ruswa Fatehpuri

We make a seamless join
From knee to hip, shoulder, armpit
Your fragrant herbal hair
Against my cradling arm
A buttress arch reaching
To clasp a window frame
As we seek warmth and comfort
Upon the chapel pew

A romance in G minor
Orchestra chasing violin
In acrobatic leaps from wall to wall
Flirtation, conversation
Without words. Illuminating
Thoughts unspoken

Light scatters on the shadows
Where the buttress meets the window
Where the music lifts and leaps
Your knee. Your crossed, your uncrossed knee.
Your hand, my hand, our ungloved hands
The dancing strings;
The ringing chapel walls

A line where our lives meet;
An unforgiving pew
Your ear upon my heart
Tympanic, inarticulate.
The join, the perpendicular,
The buttress to the window frame.
Shadows reclaim the corners.
An exchange of warmth unvoiced

You can find more of Ruswa Fatehpuri here

If you are interested in my storytelling look here

More memories from college collated here


The Art of Storytelling


The Morning After
At first glance this may seem like anti-art; just an old scratched photo, the original clearly badly lit, and poorly shot.

For me the interest and the art is in the story, the ability to draw the observer into the narrative, to make them ask “why?”

In this case the wreckage of a party, the brilliant morning sunshine, the wistful gaze…

The picture also allows an insight to my writing process, which spirals out of a catalytic image: from here, for example, it would be a journey of the imagination to put together the sequence of dramtic, tragic, comedic, suspenseful events that put her on the window seat, on her own on the morning after.

Except in this case, of course, I know. I took the picture.


If you are interested in my storytelling look here

More memories from college collated here

DP Confusion: Giorgia

In my final year at university was I was both baffled and smitten by one of my lecturers. She only taught a short course (four one hour lectures), but it was enough for me to pen a poem to her, and leave it for her in her college pigeon hole (thats not a euphemism, it is something we had in the years before email).

I may have a manuscript somewhere, but no chance of finding it. It went something like this (with apologies to TSE).

On a textual note, our terms (semesters) were arranged in eight week blocks, and the final exams were known as Part Two of the degree course.


Waves of meaningless  words

Lap at the shores of comprehension

In four hours Giorgia

There was no time for you

Or time for me

Or time for a hundred visions and revisions

Before Part Two.

And now week four

All this and so much more

I do not understand.

Me (c 1993)


If you are interested in my storytelling look here

More memories from college collated here

The Door I Never Opened

The Door I Never Opened

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden.

TS Eliot – Burnt Norton

I cling to my regrets. They are milestones and millstones, showing where I have been, or the doors I did not open. Keepsakes, chains on snowflakes that bind my failing memory.

There are things I would change. Most are actions or decisions of such monumental personal proportions that I cannot unravel the consequences. Life, death, love and loss are contingent on those turning points. Best left alone, I think.

Little moments, almost inconsequential incidents also haunt me: a choice of words, a second’s hesitation. Given the chance to do these over I would take a different path.

This is one.

There is much I regret about that final year. My glittering academic career, punctuated with awards and scholarships, came crashing to earth. I ignored the syllabus and threw myself into night-long discussions on metaphysics, maths, syntax, and the recipe for the perfect mozzarella salad. I wrote a lot of bad poems. A lot, and really bad.  I spent hours tapping them out two-fingered, but I could not bring myself to spend a fraction of that time in the library reading about my course.

All that is set. Let it stay.

I’d change the two words I said to you one summer afternoon before we sipped elderberry cordial in the shadow of Woolf and Wittgenstein.

There is a lot I don’t remember about that year, twenty and some have passed since then. I do remember you. We smoked on the window seat in my room, our legs dangling towards the river and the Bridge of Sighs three storeys below. I should have been revising for my finals.

You asked me to turn you into a vampire. I bit your neck.

I remember how much you loved those windows. I remember I didn’t kiss you.


I remember the night four of us walked across the scholar’s garden. The moon through the branches striped the lawn. I took off my shoes and went third, it was our Abbey Road, or Belsize Park. “Do you remember, barefoot on the lawn with shooting stars?”

And I remember the day you were going on a trip upriver, and either I invited myself, or you insisted I go with you. There was a gang of your friends. Of them I remember nothing at all.

We watched the trees pass overhead from the bow of the boat, wading through the unreal beauty of Cambridge. You pulled me back as the others strolled to The Orchard tea room and said, “I do love you, you know.”

I said, “I know.”

Those words cut me today, while you have undoubtedly forgotten them. I don’t know what I was trying to prove, or what coolness and aloofness would achieve. A moment to be anyone but Han. I should have said anything else, I still don’t know what.

Who knows what it would change. I forget now if I ever saw you again after that day. Perhaps once in a fleeting goodbye and a promise to write. Perhaps not. Those facts might remain unchanged. But the burden of two careless words in my memory would be lifted, and I would tread a little lighter.



If you are interested in my storytelling look here

More memories from college collated here