The Muslim man next door to me
Bids me a happy Diwali –
Are often celebrated
Perhaps we’re understanding -
This is the promised landing!
Not only do we all belong -
What’s more, we’re all related
In the cities, we migrating beasts huddle together,
Nobody wanting to be alone.
So we settle in shepherdless herds, we birds of a feather;
All of us searching for a place called home.
We won’t let go of the tales of our ancestors
Which meet our own stories, and become entwined.
We’re afraid to release these pieces of the past
For fear that we’ll leave our cultures behind.
But perhaps, in our struggle to water our roots,
We forget that we’re breathing our neighbour’s air.
The sweetest scent of all is in the flower of our meeting.
Home is to be found in the moments people share.
So the next time you feel you’re surrounded by strangers,
Grasping for support in a world full of changes,
Remind yourself that all of us yearn to belong -
and wouldn’t it be nice to get on with the neighbours?
I think an alternative , slightly more tongue-in-cheek, name for the poem might be ‘White Flight’.
Today’s the birthday of the most intensely brilliant, paradoxical, radiant, generous man I have ever met. We only hung out for a short time, and then passed away, shuffling off this mortal coil like only a dancer could; a trishul-tripod-trickster two-stepping into the void. We got wild on the dancefloor in his house a couple of times to Jimmy Castor’s “It’s Just Begun”, hence the title of this poem. Peace out, Professor. Miss you, homie.
I grieved – I felt bereaved – bereft -
I lit a flame for those who left
I sent them wishes on the breeze -
My love was carried over seas
Wild was the wind that stormy night –
My wishes filled the sky with light
And though the past can’t be undone –
Perhaps their journey’s just begun