Staying Human: new poems for Staying Alive



Flight radar

From the top of the Shard the view unfolds

down the Thames to the sea, the city laid

by a trick of sight vertically in front of me.

At London Bridge Station, trains slide in

and out in a long slow dance. It is not

by chance that I am here, not looking down

but up to where you are on Flight 199,

coming in to land. I have learned to track you

on my mobile phone. However far you go,

I have the app that uses the radar to trace

your path. There you are now, circling down

around this spire where I stand, my face reflected

over your pulse in the glass. You cannot see.

You have no radar for me, no app to make you

look back or down to where I am lifting my hand.

Darling, I will track your flight till it is a dot

that turns and banks and falls out of sight, looking

into the space where you were. Fingers frozen

on the tiny keys, I will stay where I am

in the dying light, the screen still live in my palm.

Imtiaz Dharker



Staying Human is the fourth in Neil Astley’s Staying Alive series of world poetry anthologies from Bloodaxe Books, due out on National Poetry Day, 1st October. Bloodaxe have joined forces with Unbound to offer readers an advance subscription with exclusive extras (offer closes 31st August). For more details, see: https://unbound.com/books/staying-human.

Staying Human includes 500 thoughtful and powerful poems about living in the modern world, with a strong focus on the human side of living in the 21st century. Bloodaxe would like to thank One Hand Clapping for offering this space to share these poems from Staying Human with readers.