Walk with me tonight
Clasp me firmly by the hand
Our last moments together
As you escort me across the border.
The shelling has stopped
The mortars suspended in mid-air
As if by some strange force.
We tread with care on sodden ground
Avoiding the pot-holes and smoking embers
Before the check-point looms into view.
You release my hand and turn back,
Without tears, words or lasting hugs,
Leaving me a border orphan.
I search for another you, your doppelganger
In a land where contradictions multiply and paradoxes increase;
New faces with extravagant gestures and loud voices dominate the landscape;
But your rarefied gifts of care and tenderness,
The touchstones of warmth and benevolence,
The fresh-faced orphan now recalls
In the ruins he left behind
Never to glimpse again.
New vista seen through a child’s prism;
Its icy rivers and snow-capped mountains
Its perennial darkness and wet streets
Denizens in trench coats and bulging pockets
Sinister nights and roads clogged with traffic.
You thought I’d be safe here,
The fruit of your loins in a protected haven.
But I am scared, alone amongst tall men
Coat ragged and shoes torn
In this urban wilderness, hungry, thirsty and cold
A refugee with empty pockets and wistful eyes.