Maja Dezulovic

You Don't Have to Leave When the Sun Sets

You don’t have to leave the park at sunset.
There are no criminals and thugs.
They won’t pull security
From underneath your feet like a rug.

You’re safe in the moonlight glow,
Let the city’s light engulf your being.
Let Zagreb’s rhythm flow...

It’s so beautiful.
The children are still outside to play.
If an adult yelled to them “Come inside, it’s dangerous! ”
What would be their reaction? What would they say?

Oh, I love so much about you Africa,
But this feeling you could never replace.
We’ll need to clean you out,
Create a safe haven – a replica.

I’m going to prowl the streets
And breathe in this tranquil air,
Because all I can do back home,
Is drive past in my car and stare.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Topic of this poem: places

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I've been travelling between Africa and Europe for over a decade. I'm often asked which place I like best. Honestly, I don't think any is better than the other. Each place has its unique qualities and beauties. It is this contrast that attracts me. I indulge in the best of both worlds.

There are also things that trouble me about each place. One of the things that trouble me about South Africa is the crime rate. Every time I come here (I'm in Zagreb, Croatia at the moment) , one of the first things I do is go nightwalking. I'm not saying that you can't do that in South Africa. You can. It's just you have to be very careful about where you do it. Also, as a young woman, it is not recommended to go strolling around at night on your own. I just hate how our outdoor street culture has been sacrificed due to the crime. I want to experience that in Johannesburg too - buzzing outdoor city life. However, I doubt it will happen any time soon so I'm indulging in it here.

South Africa is beautiful. There is a bit of everything. It actually is safe, regardless of media hype. It is secure within the culture that has been created - a tradition that closes its doors to the outside world at night.

I wrote the poem below while I was sitting in a park in Zagreb as the sun began to set. My first instinct was to leave before dusk. Then it dawned on me that I didn't have to. I was not in any danger.

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