Saturday, 2 February 2013

To a home I've never known

To a home I've never known

I ask my father of his childhood
And watch his face light up as he speaks of you
The memories slip off his tongue
The sunshine leaks from his words
There’s a longing in his eyes
As he gestures with his hands
Painting a picture of a time when he loved you
Of the way of life he never thought he’d lose.

In twenty one years you have become another life
But still he remembers your beauty
He tells me of mangoes so sweet
They would put the ones I am holding to shame
The smell of fresh sea air in the morning
A young man under a scorching sun.

He doesn't speak of the soldiers
He won’t tell me of their guns
Of the murdered sons, the raped daughters
Of desperation and the scent of fear
Of a small boat in the darkness lost at sea
Of parched lips praying for the sight of shore
Of terror and loss in a strange new land
And struggling to begin again.

Still faithful to your memory
He paints you in your former glory
And in my head you could have been a kingdom
If my father’s words were all I had known.
He gave me all your vibrant colours
But the rest of the world showed me your worst.

 (Barawa, Somalia)