Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 10,154 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Immigrant - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

I can't imagine dying in this land.
The neighbours here have doors graffiti-red
‘Why are you brown? ' another pupil asked
‘I think because my folks are brown, ' I said

Out on our landing, someone's dumped a bed
I dream in Hindi. I don't understand
The baby words in English in my school book
At games, or dancing, no one takes my hand

I miss the smells of curry, frangipani,
The steaming chai at Delhi's teeming stalls
The cooking fires. I even miss the sewers
The thieving monkeys with their chattering calls

I miss the temple incense, the bright saris
In this new country, ma wears layers of coats
I miss the beggars, hawkers, the snake charmers
The rickshaws and the tattered rupee notes

You won't have seen a cripple on a skateboard
Or a blind boy, with both his eyes gouged out
That's what it feels to leave behind your country
A picture with the best bits scissored out

Topic(s) of this poem: travel

Form: Ballad


Comments about Immigrant by Sheena Blackhall

  • Adeeb Alfateh (10/14/2019 11:22:00 PM)

    You won't have seen a cripple on a skateboard
    Or a blind boy, with both his eyes gouged out

    really a great writing
    great 10++
    (Report)Reply

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  • Catherine Habbie (5/2/2018 4:50:00 AM)

    Wow Sheena! You have captured the essence of diaspora. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Narayanan Kutty Pozhath (4/30/2018 10:49:00 AM)

    Beautiful lines. Wonderful poem. An Indian in mind. (Report)Reply

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  • Paul Reed (2/12/2018 4:27:00 AM)

    The thieving monkeys with their chattering calls...great line. (Report)Reply

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  • (1/15/2018 5:30:00 AM)

    Through the eyes of an immigrant, you have profoundly expressed the isolation and loneliness of being in a new country. And the prejudice that exists. And your longing for your homeland. You have brilliantly illustrated through vivid imagery, your wonderful memories of a country so close to your heart. And your last stanza...sheer genius! You've been crippled! The memories are still there. But like the blind boy, your eyes no longer see all the best bits of your beloved homeland. (Report)Reply

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  • Grace Kusta Nasralla (11/29/2017 10:30:00 PM)

    Words well chosen. I am an immigrant and I know how it feels especially the first year in a new country. Nice Poem! (Report)Reply

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  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (7/13/2017 10:42:00 PM)

    Yes, particularly when you are made to transcend, you may feel it harder. I experienced this when I was transferred from the village school to the college in the town, I cried over every thing I missed including the mat I used to lie on at home to sleep, over the comforts in a spring bed with the mattress and all that. Only poets can become genuine and truthful in expressing hearty feelings like this. Thanks Sheena for sharing a humane thought. (Report)Reply

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  • Ravi A (7/13/2017 6:57:00 PM)

    Wonderful feelings inscribed in fine verses. Yes, migration has such difficulties of losing the familiar charms of one's own country. More than charms I would like to use the word 'scenes' with which we get accustomed over the years. They become part of our routine life, something inseparable from our very breath. Being an Indian I can easily access to your feelings. Glad that this poem gets the honor in this remarkable way. (Report)Reply

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  • Seamus O Brian (7/13/2017 4:09:00 PM)

    The jarring, disconcerting sensation of human transplantation. The cultural cocoon with all of its comforting details hacked away by dislocation. Graphically rendered here, good poet.

    I wonder, though, about those last four lines. That odd juxtaposition of the cripple and the blind boy with the thought of the best bits scissored out. I have read this several times, and yet I struggle with this; perhaps I am missing something? Are these not sights one expects to encounter in India? Yes, it's true, I the reader won't have seen such things except in places where such things are not uncommon, yet I cannot justify the conjunction to of such things to *the best bits* of any place. I am open to and desirous of suggestions...
    (Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi Louis (7/13/2017 1:48:00 PM)

    Life's journey! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report)Reply

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  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (7/13/2017 12:26:00 PM)

    It is only when you leave your native land and settle down in a foreign country that you begin to smell the
    mud of your earth in a more intense way and miss the little things that has been a part of your life.
    Sheena, you have most effectively portrayed the feeling through vivid images in this beautiful poem.
    Congratulations for being the poet of the day.
    (Report)Reply

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  • Geetha Jayakumar (7/13/2017 6:58:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem Sheena. This poem touches the different flavours especially when you miss them a lot. Congrats on member poem of the day! (Report)Reply

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  • (7/13/2017 3:45:00 AM)

    It is a nice poem narrating in minute details how a person, away from her birthplace feels. Life is a rate race.Sense of loss visits the ambitious sometines.We all are like this.Here in Mumbai I miss so many things
    which I got in Orissa .Moreover an unseen force, high above the earth wants to see at regular interval all living beings those were born in that particular earth coorner, I have felt.Congratulations .
    (Report)Reply

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  • (7/13/2017 3:29:00 AM)

    In our village, a wage earner during my time earning Rs2.50 per day as wage will not like to go to neighbouring village 1.5 km away for wage earning.He will prefer to starve half. but not miss his village and its songbirds.
    That is the pull flora, fauna, culture of an earth corner.
    (Report)Reply

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  • (7/13/2017 3:04:00 AM)

    a insightful poem that reflects what it might feel like being a displaced person in a foreign land? ..............wonderfully written. (Report)Reply

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  • Geoffrey Fafard (7/13/2017 2:15:00 AM)

    Standout write. Evocative and poignant. Plus the feel, smell and heart of India is prominent in my mind because of your poem. Beautifully done. Thank you. Geoffrey. (Report)Reply

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  • Paul Brookes (7/13/2017 2:07:00 AM)

    The sadness of the refugee the sadness of a culture which does not welcome and then when that refugee flees toa place of safety made within the unaccepting host nation they are then vilified for not assimilating. A poem of great insight and understanding thanks for shraing (Report)Reply

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  • Kim Barney (7/13/2017 12:59:00 AM)

    Fantastic poem. It had special meaning for me because just this morning I finished reading a book called THE ORPHAN KEEPER. This is a novel based on the true story of a boy in India who was kidnapped, sold to an orphanage, adopted by an American couple, and years later went back to India to try to find his original family.
    Congratulations on Member Poem of the Day!
    (Report)Reply

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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (7/13/2017 12:25:00 AM)

    Homesick is the common dilemma of the immigrants around the world.... This difficult situation can be altered if one is busy doing noble deeds... congrats on being chosen, Sheena... Rated 10++++
    You may visit my HEARTACHES WILL NEVER LAST, BATHE YOUR HEART, and TAKE TIME TO THINK...Thanks👍
    (Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish Manga (7/14/2016 12:44:00 AM)

    Living at a distant land might bring in an enriching experience, both in material as well as social terms, but the memories of things left behind in one's native land would not be easily forgotten. Thanks and Congrats on being the Poet of the Day. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015



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