The high road looked attractive then, and different –
a noble prospect of escape and opportunity:
a sure laconic fast-track to success, in a future
that would thrive on merit and good fortune.
And away: From small-town strictures and constraints
contained within a worn out past,
from the voices who had led and nurtured us
and the sirens that had formed us;
from the grounds on which we’d lightly walked
when we first met the world.
Now youth: Where have you gone? Spent
on aspirations and conformity to others’ expectations
with outcomes fingered shakily, perhaps indelibly,
in a pale grey scalpel trace of memory.
Leaving us: Continuing, to elude or to confront
a dilemma woven deeply in the fibre
of exiles’ recurring thoughts of home: To forever mourn
the lost homeland, or make the best of it and carry on?
Mourning? In futility, but unavoidably,
to experience what we cannot bear but have invited in;
we – the rootless, the dispossessed, the disinherited
with our (bittersweet and plangent) longings
for no-longer-knowns we feel but keep unseen
and tenderly describe as being all that there once was –
we are waiting in forlorn agonies of wishing, hoping
for a moment that will never come.
And anyway, we carry on, because we do;
until we find release, until we are renewed.