The Syrian writer, historian and broadcaster Rana Kabbani, with oriental 'savoir vivre', comes loaded with presents whenever she comes to lunch or dinner. Amongst the presents last time was The Prodigal by Derek Walcott, a Nobel Prize winning poet I had never read.
I had said goodbye to the beautiful plump soldier
whose hair, when she removed her forage cap,
was neatly parted as a blackbird's wings,
to the berry-red lipstick, goodbye to eyes
that held, I hoped, more than formal affection,
outside the hotel. Desire flashed from my face
like a weapon caught in sunlight, then she mounted
her lucky motorcycle and glided off, gone
into the turning traffic out of our lives.