A Poem For Immigrants

I don’t know why but poems on immigration always move me. Maybe because for seventeen years I lived in a country where I spent my entire childhood yet I couldn’t call it home because of not having a passport of that country (Saudi Arabia). It’s a strange thing, that passport.  People go to any lengths to change the color of their passport, they would marry a particular country’s passport holder as if having  the required passport would somehow align the rest of the features required for a successful marriage automatically, people with passports from specific countries are paid more as if owning a passport of a particular country enhances the talent and mental capabilities of a person.  Every year, there are lists drawn up of  the world’s most powerful and the worst passports. It’s amazing how owning a specific passport can change the world’s view of you. Its a crazy world we live in. Damn crazy.

Travelogue For Exiles

by Karl Shapiro

Look and remember. Look upon this sky;
Look deep and deep into the sea-clean air,
The unconfined, the terminus of prayer.
Speak now and speak into the hallowed dome.
What do you hear? What does the sky reply?
The heavens are taken: this is not your home.

Look and remember. Look upon this sea;
Look down and down into the tireless tide.
What of a life below, a life inside,
A tomb, a cradle in the curly foam?
The waves arise; sea-wind and sea agree
The waters are taken: this is not your home.

Look and remember. Look upon this land,
Far, far across the factories and the grass.
Surely, there, surely they will let you pass.
Speak then and ask the forest and the loam.
What do you hear? What does the land command?
The earth is taken: this is not your home.

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