Tropical mountains with many levels and moods
Display flora of distant latitudes.
Going to the tea of Nuwara Eliya’s peaks
I'm surprised by beetroot, potatoes, rhubarb and leeks!
The mist-shrouded bungalow with lawn and roses
And lead-light windows, it reposes
As visiting my grandparents’ when a boy
Where tropical mementoes they did deploy.
My Sri Lankan hotel room so far below
Smells the same as did their bungalow -
Summer warmed wood, brasses and enclosed sultriness;
The same now here as it was then, in warm coziness.
Many other places, and those in developing nations
Have evoked forgotten emotions and sensations.
Where yesterday’s environments are intact,
Their experience can surprise in imagery and impact.
Bangladesh guns wallop Independence Day salutes
And I am a child in air-raid suites.
Steam trains’ distant chunter transports my fast flight
Back to childhood darknesses and listening in the night.
A black cow tethered and munching on the lawn;
The hum of air-conditioner ‘til dawn;
The birdcalls at the window in the hot sun,
All serve to remind me where and when I really am.
September 1998 (edited January 2015)