Poem for Ersi

It was all so long ago,
Days that never seemed to end,
The gentle rising of the sea in the harbour,
And the birds that came to my window
Just to sing.

And as a child I was warmed
By the sun and by the constancy
Of life among flowers
Brushed by the cooling summer wind.

But my childhood ended that summer
As the birds, frightened, flew away;
And to my window
Came an invader with bullets
That put an end to song.

‘Come’ cried my mother, ‘we must leave here,
We must find refuge, come now
Your childhood is over.’
I cried as my childhood died.

It was all so long ago.
Today, halfway across the world,
I watch as we all grow old.

I watch as we learn that frontiers divide
Not only our lands
But our minds.
And though walls fall,
Somewhere, someone is building another.

And still invaders invade
As dreams and homes are crushed
By the will of the few
Who say they speak for many.

But I remember my invader,
Who came that day to my window:
The grey and tired face
Lined with mud and fear and anger
Now spent in age and death.

I shall outlive him.

And soon I will walk among birds
Along that dusty road
That leads me home to Kyrenia.

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