from We Are Writing a Poem about Home

by Kate Clanchy


I can’t write about my Hazara people
Who have suffered for decades
In Afghanistan where they come from
In Pakistan where they are murdered ….


I don’t remember her
In the summer,
Lagoon water sizzling,
The kingfisher leaping,
Or even the sweet honey mangoes
They tell me I used to love…..

Ishmail ….I have forgotten
The mangy dogs I used to bark at
Or the snakes I waited to pelt rocks at,
The fish I caught by hand-
Even the dragonflies I trapped –

And the taste of the just ripe mangoes
Which I would climb the trees to pick
And the giant fish which would not fit
In the kitchen; and the chickens
Slaughtered in front of me, and the birds,
Sling-shotted out of the sky, and how
They would all end up in a pot filled with spices
Which would soon be empty unless I got there first…


Notice the light
riding on its cloud horse
throwing shadows
on the grassy ground.
Stand here
and hear the whistle of the wind
blowing the golden sand.
Remember it,
the free and wild wind,

as a gentle touch.