“A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere: in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by the occupation and oppression into a nightmare.” - Mahmoud Darwish
Leaving one’s place of birth and settling elsewhere, for whatever purpose, may often be followed by success, with one’s new life being comfortable, prosperous and filled with content. While one is grateful for the new homeland’s bounty, the need to visit one’s place of origin is a thirst that can only satisfied by a return there. However, nostalgia is a bad advisor and often what we fondly remember is forever lost and the water of return is contaminated by the bitterness of irrevocable change.
Poetry Jam this week is looking at the theme of “thirst” and my offering is below:
My heart searches to slake its thirst
In heady wine of the return, so ruby-red.
Vermillion poppies are sweet draughts
In emerald chalice of unripened corn.
My heart searches to revive itself
With life-giving blood and sacred breath.
Anemones like drops of blood on hillsides
And in the azure of sky a breath of God.
My heart searches for a cordial word to hear,
A smiling friendly face to warm itself.
In every boat of the Aegean I see a letter spelling “welcome home”
While ancient statues smile at me like next of kin.
My heart searches far and wide for honey, balsam,
A therapy for all its wounds so that it will love again.
Violet-coloured, scented evenings in islands white,
And sweet fragrances are medicine enough in balmy nights.
My heart searches for all of these and more,
But as time inexorably flows, it passes, wounds, destroys.
Time conquers all that I knew and fondly recalled,
And my return is poison, soured wine and bitter gall.
The photo is "Poppies in Polyhrono, Greece" by Ilian Pavlov
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