Mombassa Then and Now

It’s quite unique, the physique – of the trees

that whisper, in the coastal breeze.

I can’t keep tabs of the baobabs – and the many tall palms

with their fruit filled arms.

And birds abound, and monkeys are found in these tropical lands,

so are snow white sands.

On the beach, keeping from reach, are small pink crabs

feeding, in dribs and drabs.

And if the tide has lost it’s pride one can walk on the reef

……. stare, in disbelief

at the beauty and the booty of Davey Jones.

And the reef groans

at the sea, because she… is still thrashing and thrashing

and crashing and bashing.

For the ocean in her motion of coming and going

seems forever growing:

the tide swells, covers the shells, and the lands again suffer

her torrential buffer.

And the sun devours in a couple of hours. It’s afraid

of nothing but shade.

So it is quite a relief that the coral reef keeps the sharks away

whilst we swim in the bay.

It’s amazing how the Persian Dhow keeps itself afloat –

it’s a monsoon boat.

The arabic sailor, like a jewish tailor, cuts his way across, without any loss.

From the Gulf of Persia, through natural inertia, in monsoon gales

he sets his sails.

This he dares to bring his wares to Mombassa and Dar

and Durban – so far.

At the old port, by the fort (Fort Jesus it’s called –

it’s strong and high walled)

is a strange mix of Arabics and Africans and Asians

and cross bred relations;

their dogs and their cats, mice and rats, all live in these parts

influenced by arabic arts.

This old part of town will never drown in the sea of time

it’s still in its prime.

Time just stops, by these perfume shops, and at the wood carvers door,

by the fish merchants who sit on the floor.

The narrow streets and their retreats of narrower lanes

and yet narrower chicanes,

makes one recall, above all, of the pirate like ways

Of the slave trading days.

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