The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Colin Will: 2 Poems Published

Poems by Colin Will (Scotland - UK)

Published in The Ofi Press issue 37.


Little red birds flew over the hotel pool, as I did my lazy lengths,
washing off the red dirt of ‘Tana streets, the memory
of the beggars outside the gates, the stifling heat.

As if they were on zip wires, to and fro
over the blue pool, from garden to tree,
with nest stuff, then back down. What are they?
Fodies, they said, as if everyone knew that,
but they were my first fodies, and I liked them,
unaware that as I surfaced, I took in as guests,
gut gifts from the birds.



Last week my shirt was liquid protein
forced from the jets of caterpillars
in a rush to pupate. Tiny hooks
and the practised eyes of spinners
found the ends, tied them to wires,
dropped eight cocoons in hot water,
tumbling, unwinding, twisted into one thread.

You wanted to know where were the mummies
of the Taklamakan. I didn’t know
but made a guess at Ürümqi.
What made outliers of Yamnaya culture
settle in the Tarim Basin? The same stuff,
I surmise, that, spun, dyed, woven,
made the Suzhou shirt I bought
in Silk Factory Number Three.

A friend died on the Silk Road,
so it’s personal. He’s buried in Tashkent,
his exotic Scottish genes as European
as the mummies, and very far from home.

About the Poet

Colin Will is an Edinburgh-born poet with a background in botany and geology, librarianship and information management. He has had seven poetry collections published, the latest being The Propriety of Weeding, from Red Squirrel Press (2012). A full-length collection of haibun, The Book of Ways, is due from Red Squirrel in October 2014. He chairs the Board of StAnza.


Images: "Madagascar Red Fody" by Ltshears and "Taklamkan Desert" by Pravit.