Choman Hardi, Pam Zinnemann-Hope poets
Bridget Pearse on viola
Friday 7 July 2017, 8pm
Tickets: £10/£25 with dinner before. Please phone 01308 459511 to book.
Originally from Iraq, Choman Hardi is a world-class poet with a passionate interest in human stories that spring from the experience of migration. Her intensely moving, beautiful readings are impossible to forget. Her poems are studied at GCSE giving a vital insight into the experience of migration.
Hosted by Pam Zinnemann-Hope, author of On Cigarette Papers, about her parents’ escape from concentration camps in the war, the evening is accentuated by Bridget Pearse playing Glazunov, Bloch’s Hebridean suite and Telemann on unaccompanied viola.
At the Border, 1979 by Choman Hardi
‘It is your last check-in point in this country!’
We grabbed a drink –
soon everything would taste different.
The land under our feet continued
divided by a thick iron chain.
My sister put her leg across it.
‘Look over here,’ she said to us,
‘my right leg is in this country
and my left leg in the other.’
The border guards told her off.
My mother informed me: We are going home.
She said that the roads are much cleaner
the landscape is more beautiful
and people are much kinder.
Dozens of families waited in the rain.
‘I can inhale home,’ somebody said.
Now our mothers were crying. I was five years old
standing by the check-in point
comparing both sides of the border.
The autumn soil continued on the other side
with the same colour, the same texture.
It rained on both sides of the chain.
We waited while our papers were checked,
our faces thoroughly inspected.
Then the chain was removed to let us through.
A man bent down and kissed his muddy homeland.
The same chain of mountains encompassed all of us.