30 April, 2005

Safe and Warm

Safe and Warm

Come home, come home the chocolate’s warm
The voices whisper in my head
Treading hard roads of grief
To shake hands with murderers
Soldiers who had killed civilians - allegedly
Those whose trials had been postponed
Whose case notes were lost many years ago
And those whose charges treason
And terrorism need no explanation or trial
Except the nightmares worn on their bodies

And flint stone cottages that stand
For many hundred years
Casually providing a contrasting
Backdrop for hollyhocks
The muffins hot and crisp
Butter melting into the
Air spaces of their interiors
Remembering how weeping
Shambok wounds
Were fed with molten plastic
As confessions malevolently concocted
Found the signatures of shaky hands

Come home, come home
The chocolate’s warm
And I could reach the safety
Of a cup of Chinese tea
When other friends are fleeing
Across borders without passports
While Ministers in Whitehall
Promise to forcibly deport
Thirty five thousand
Asylum seekers a year
Planning off-shore camps in Africa
Smile upon the work of thieves
And masters of ‘kandoya’
Dangerous or necessary
To return to unfinished business

Willy Bach © 2003


Written shortly before leaving Uganda in April 2003, for a five week visit to Britain:
‘kandoya’ refers to the tying of detainees so that their elbows are tied tightly behind their backs and touch their ankles. In this position many die or are crippled for life. This is a common practise among perpetrators of torture in Uganda. Safe also refers to ‘safe houses’ where most of the torture is carried out.


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