Friday, November 9, 2007

Poem by Emily Alter

Landour, Mussoorie, July 29th, 2007

I cried, or should have,
had I been more alone,
more at ease with my homesickness
and its new settlement –
that is to say its new target
at which to shoot the arrows of that pain,

a pain attributed to a small child
suddenly and unknowingly separated,
which I am not.
I am accompanied in this new and renewed
home by that which a homesick
child cries for.

Home, whose definition grows with
the stages of our lives, is an
idea which nomads refuse,
or so the story goes, and in this refusal
appeal to some higher sense of belonging.

Shoes sink into endless sand
that fortifies this belonging, an existence:
a connection and inseparability to land, earth, ground
so when these shoes are lifted from it,
it, quite often, is brought along.

The earth that I picked up to bring along,
has been returned.
As we drove up the winding roads, windows open,
I hurled it from my weathered hands,
and now I find – in returning it –
that I have lost my ground and found my

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