It’s okay to ‘maim’ my ‘name’ for I’m an inconsequential ‘thing’
You can place me on the shelves of Primark and Aldi
Mine is a ‘budget identity’, made on the cheap – no frills!
But a long time ago, in the era of benign kings and cheerful souls
My people’s fortunes and graces were celebrated afar
On distant plains, if you’d paid attention, you’d hear their words
But now they’re no more. Old ‘remains’ of Gandhara’s good days
The old language has lost her script, its sounds fading into the winds
As we wake up in Britain to recover moments from that easterly breeze
What of Gandhara and that ancestral place we’ve forgotten?
Of wealthy merchants and beautiful people, pure and caring
Giving their dues, their acts sketched on the minds of filial folk?
Their statues are serenaded in British Museums and glossy books,
A blessing of sorts I guess, plucked from their decaying promenades
Thousands of miles away from the land of the ‘Crescent’ and ‘corrupt men’
I can walk into any British library and see their faces as if they’d never left
I’m at peace, I’m overjoyed, Gandhara’s good name is assured
And so, I thank my forbears lingering fondness for Britain’s Merchant Ships
In the dingy engine rooms, they shovelled coal and made passage here
More than a century ago, they made the leap for Britain’s cold winters
I don’t know their names, or the places they stayed, or their memories
But at least I’ve ‘something’ of “them” in Britain’s stately buildings
Standing proudly tall, sublime, my people celebrated with care,
Here in the land of the ‘Cross’, I can journey into the past with ease
It’s as if I never left that place we’ve all forgotten
And in the peace of a cavernous space, the good folk of Gandhara
Carefully placed, honoured, speak to us, telling us of our beginnings!