“Hold your head up high,
As you walk through your land,
Both the one you were born in,
And the one where you now stand.
Let your heart roam free,
Through the fields of your youth.
As you know the truth,
You are made of your past,
You are made of your tomorrow.
So don’t be forlorn,
Nor feel any sorrow.”
“I am happy and proud of the life I have built,
I made the right choice - I have no guilt.”
Inspired by many conversations with my grandparents who
left Pakistan in the 1960s, moving to Britain. A Qasidah is a
classical Arabic form of poetry, often nostalgic.
Qasidah for a
A traveller stands in a town square,
He hears the sounds, he breathes the air,
Yet he is somewhere else, he is not here,
He is in his home, among his forbears.
Wistfully yearning, through his prayer,
He wishes to see his home, to be there.
A child approaches, young face and dark hair,
He speaks to the traveller, as they stand in the square,
“Does your heart still yearn for the beating sun,
Do native words form on your lips and tongue?
Do you regret the journey you have begun?
Do you dream of the time when you were young?
“How can your life here compare to that you left?
What’s it like to live in a nation not your own?
Has your mind caught up and jumped across the cleft,
That separates you from your people, from your home?
“The memories you’ve made and the ones you ran from,
New friends, new faces, new loved ones,
Who you’d never have known if you hadn’t come,
Stories never told, forever unheard songs.