Fond Farewells – Kitty Arnold
October 16, 2020
Where Are You From?
Sometimes I feel like a stamp on an envelope
Forced into a post box,
Not knowing my new destination
And finally arriving on the doormat of my new home.
My new reality.
New voices and faces I have to recognise,
Not forgetting my old friends I have left behind.
Feeling sad remembering my old life,
But forget the strife;
Because wherever you are your family is right beside you,
All being posted the same way,
We all have the same writing on our heart
And travel the same route together and make the same start.
But we all live different lives.
And on this our family thrives.
When I arrive don’t ask me where I am from.
The picture on my stamp has changed many times;
From Queens Head when I left England
To cockerels, palaces, elephants and Kings,
Rivers, jungles, beaches and mountain springs.
All pictures of my worldliness.
As I travel my learning increases and my envelope fills,
Places are never out of reach but full of thrills.
My brain works like a GPS.
I am on a constant journey and never rest.
Leaving a mark in each place I have been,
And it leaving its mark on me with all I have seen.
Noises, smells, tastes and views differ in every country.
Being friends with people from different races
Scattered globally in many places.
Giving me memories I can lean on when I am old and slow,
Things I could talk about when I play bingo.
My heart weeps not letting my tears spill
Because just as I settle down I am off again,
Into a foreign postbox
Arriving on new terrain.
This all changes the colours on my stamp,
Changing my life, making me me.
So don’t ask me where I am from,
Ask me who I am.
My youth was global; in four countries I thrived.
These nations welcomed me from the moment I arrived,
I loved those places my folks chose to reside.
But, I’ve always had a weird sense of patriotic pride,
Towards a small nation floating in the Atlantic far, far away,
The little country coined as home, where I’d only ever been on holiday.
And thus, a decade and a half after all this started,
The decision was made to return to the home we had originally parted.
There was no worry or stress,
We were returning to the place my parents knew best.
So, we left the community of expatriated Brits and dreamers abroad,
Arriving home to joy and our families applaud.
The issue is I’m not English – I was a foreigner finding a home.
I had the passport, spoke the language.
But, no one here understood the world I used to roam.
To them, my stories were fairytale and fiction of a foreign and far off land.
They hadn’t seen the floods, revolutions and evacuations,
Or thrived in numerous foreign nations faraway from the motherland.
So, my life of frequent flights meant I no longer fit:
I was too foreign to be English and too English to be foreign.
Brought up global and more rootless and restless than I care to admit.
They said my love for my homeland was a bond that could not diminish.
Yet I’m constantly homesick for far-flung foreign lands,
I think this belonging everywhere and nowhere has made me only almost English.