The needle has struck, the hour has come,
and the open road unwinds.
With a heavy heart,
I place my soul’s keeping
into nature’s lair for the journey ahead.
Of human depredation, her foibles,
I know her misspent youth.
And so I pocket my worldly things,
and hit the road with rickety legs and an ageing gait.
And through the mist and haze
of freezing winters, burning summers
and manmade gales, I shall labour on,
until I chance upon a shore
where the sands are soft, the waves calm and the waters still.
Far from the memories,
I dared cherish my own,
and ever so far, as far can stretch,
from the wagging tongues of her native patriots,
for her fiery mobs have erred on the side of their fair progeny,
and her tempered oracles have made good their prophecies!
And so what of me,
the wee ‘other’ me,
and the foreign nation I’m deemed?
From the loins of distant forebears,
of olive skin, exotic airs,
mine is a legacy altogether denied.
Of my ancestors, their words, mores and smiles – I’ve no clue,
for I am a guest all my life who never returned home.
But my labour is ‘mine’, its sweat consummated on the soil of foreign fields,
picked and plucked and thrown side to side,
used, abused, and then discarded,
an expense too great.
So what solace is there for me?
Lingering in the midst of forlorn thoughts – a fool with no home?
I will make a makeshift raft and voyager into the wilderness of bleak stretches,
that runs for miles and miles and miles,
unpeopled, unsoiled, bristling in nature’s untamed glory,
a virgin to the human plough.
And in the calmness of a solitary refuge, redeemed by life’s perilous pulse,
I will live out my remaining breaths an elderly King.
My thirst quenched, my hunger spared,
perhaps I too will become a ‘nation’ worthy of my forebears,
I shall bury my seed deep in the expanse entirely mine.
Flowers blooming, the air sweet, tender, motherly – everlasting.
But then, as life is always eclipsed by her demise, presage looming,
nature recoils her blessings. Her roses wither and dye.
And my fecund descendants will forever be scattered!
This I know to be true,
couched in the ‘claims’ of ‘antiquity’s everlasting ruins;
of humanity’s false gods, how we insufferable humans exhume ourselves from the ashes of embittered follies.
Satiated by castoff grains, we lay waste to her harvests,
usurping the life of menial serfs and their beasts of burden
by childish stroke of nativist providence.
Even of millennia’s simpleton myths,
we claim her dispossessed streets, nooks and crannies.
For in the clarity of ‘this’, our most modern age,
we still live in the wilderness of primitive greed.
Ensnared by the patriotism of our beloved earls, dukes and kings,
foreign as foreign can be, we pay homage to the sons of the soil and their celestial histories.
This, the price to pay for devotion to canny maps, unruly borders and infused souls, canvassed on nature’s most splendid artistry,
betwixt the chaos of human egos,
modern-man’s stupid fictions abound
unbounded, ceaseless, incessantly mean-spirited.
Alas, we think it smart to adore our base-instincts in awe of our ‘Father-Gods’
on high, below and in every breech, we kneel to their whisperings,
kidding ourselves to the impunity of our ways,
ugly and uglier by the day,
we speak loftily in awe of all that condemns us,
for the cheerful species we could have been,
but are now surely debased!