Mariam de Haan

(04 October 1993 / Pemba, Tanzania)

A country not a home


There was peace, quiet.
People would hide their fright.
'I made friends.'
Life went on.
Until the sun went down.

Keep low
Don't walk straight
Wave after wave of bullets.
'I laid under my bed the first night.'

After a week
'I couldn't sleep in silence'
Everyone needed the violence
'Cause in the end the grenade, the shout, and cry
Became your lullaby.

I got to meet people like me
Young guys dreaming of what we'll be,
'One became my best friend.'
On the day before my flight
We hugged and said goodnight
'See you tomorrow.'
''Yeah' I said.'
We were pretty tight.

The next morning
As I was packing
I heard the news
'Yo, your friend
He died last night.
He got hit, by a stray bullet.'

I made about ten friends
Only four survived.
So as the plane went in the sky
'I promised never to go back.'

Submitted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Edited: Sunday, February 17, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

One day my friend came up to me and told me this story. It was about his trip to the country where he was born. After he told it to me I realised why he never calls that country his home.

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