She started out small,
A few scribblings, a poem.
Scraps of paper she hid under her bed.
She’d block the sight of the damp with the book in her hands.
She read ravenously but was lost
Until she got the scholarship to the prestigious school.
The teacher said she had a hope
Not in hell but a hope to escape hell.
And she did,
She made it to the top university,
Where her reading was guided,
Now the scraps fitted together
And there was a glorious first novel.
It was a bold entrance, a glittering success.
As sure as shit follows sugar,
depression set in
Like damp in a sock after heavy rain.
She ploughed on.
And though the second novel did not dazzle, it won over a
different set of critics.
There was room for a third and a fourth.
And by the fifth she was back in the swing of things.
Shortlisted, coveted, anthologised.
When the sixth won the major award, all was settled.
Her reputation had fortified even as her enemies multiplied.
People were prepared to kill
Just so they could make the writing course she taught.
Her fans would queue up at signings and jibber about their
She would smile, pretend to care, then strike a line through her
name and replace it with her signature.
They went home hugging the hardback, their relic touched by a
Time ticked on and more volumes arrived.
The talk now turned to the Nobel,
Will she get it this year or the next?
Her hair lit up with grey.
The distinct shawl she wore became iconic.
When they called, she feigned surprise and thanked them for the
It would be nice to visit Stockholm at that time of year.
All schools taught her, even those rising up in the far flung
corners of the world.
Her books were turned to movies, soap operas, stores, T-shirts
You could be in a Buddhist temple in the middle of a forest and
find her image emblazoned on a cup.
When people listed, they’d say Shakespeare, Goethe and her name.
Towards the end, it even eclipsed Shakespeare’s after the top
critic published a volume saying Will captured the human, she
By now, as her writing predicted, the world was entering the
It became clear to her that all those heights she climbed from
that first poem until the last museum built in her honour, all
of it was in vain.
Shakespeare had a longer run of it but even he would be wiped
clean along with his sonnet 18.
The flesh was falling off the bone of the world.
The bone was turning into dust.
The species that had changed the temperature was going, going,
The kindle edition of her books disappeared when the armadillos
destroyed the server.
The paper of her books rotted to mush.
No one remembered her.
No one was left to remember her.
No one was left to remember.
No one was left.
Something new arose.
It started out small
Then took over the world.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Hassan Abdulrazzak
would be pleased to hear them.