These Long Days

Distressing, depressing moods move and
wash like waves
inside me now
though I go above
to survey the sea
to gaze at waves
in a wind that makes
tree limbs dance
and leaves to tremble.
How romantic this should be!
But never now for me.
Glaring at Mother Nature from my cursed grey cage
Speaking from my heart
in nothing but the language of complaint.
Then I’m in a jail of grief-dreams
when night surrounds me
with its own particular darkness.
Yet still I wait
even now
for the light
of Freedom.

– Farhad Bandash,
Manus Island, 27 months

My Cocoon

How I continuously and irritably look at my life.
How I break in a strange and soundless way
in my green destiny a yellow hope waves.
And in my lonely solitude,
in the night of the cage,
a strange lump is standing outside the door
knocking constantly to destroy
a memory,
drown the life.
Who says that you are as beautiful as a butterfly
I am hiding in my cocoon
I die slowly, so slowly in this tight cocoon
with no space to shout.
I die soundlessly under the rubble of walls.

– Mamali,
Manus Island, 27 months

A Mother

A mother calls from an extreme distance
And her shout shakes the earth
Even the sky becomes impatient and dark
While she cries “Why are you captive? Why?”
When your camp-worker son returns to you
You search for answers, saying,
“Why John , can’t you bring these seekers of asylum
Home to me where I can give them a life?
Next time. Promise me.
Next time you come!”
But when John says “I can’t do it.
They live in a cage.
Immigration forbids it.”
Tears will fall down your face
You will collapse with a lump in your throat
Unable to find words
Choking with tears.
Everyday with your heart filled with love
You pray for our freedom
And it is for you I write this poem
Our dear mother.
I write and I say
“Wait! Our day of freedom is near and
All of us love you,
Our Mother.”

– Farhad Bandesh,
Manus Island, 27 months

Silence of Nature

Listen to birds in evergreen trees
Where only good news is in their world
And where nature keeps perfectly quiet.
There arise now sighs and groans from throats
Of seekers of asylum who found no refuge here.
Yet a cry for freedom stays stifled behind their lips
In a silence louder than a scream
Which no one will hear.
The birds and creatures, even grass and trees
Stare innocently at faces made of woven oppression.
This land, understanding their pain,
Does not even murmur to the sunrise
And the wind arriving gustily from the beach
Can see that the trees will not dance with it.
So long it is that news has not come with the wind;
Does even the wind understand us?
It takes the waves of the sea to break the calm
Of this noiselessness.
And that silence is a scream,
A shout louder than nature’s quiet.
A roar from the bottom of those hearts of men,
Of utterly worn refugees.
And the silence breaks its silence
Setting free it’s songs from the depths
The shouts of sleepers
Releasing the voices of the voiceless
Screaming”Freedom! Freedom!”

– Farhad Bandesh,
Manus Island 27 months

July 18, 2015

Our life is ending, we have lost our hope
Like an addicted who has lost his Dope

Our voice is voiceless,no one sees our pain
We’d been taken,out of human chain

It’s been two years, July always hurt
Thank God this year, no has died yet

We are not alive, we are just breathing
Who can feel this pain?any human being?

The world is just fence,there is no beauty
Like in love soldier, who’s always on duty

There is no more love, everywhere is cell
Pray never works, if you are in Hell

I was human, once upon a time
I wish I had known, being witness is a crime

Have you ever lived in a Pharmacy??
We are victims of July policy…

– FRT009,
Manus Island, 27 months

New Years Eve Fish

When I see people these days, I feel like a fish.
I feel like am in a big aquarium.
People stop to watch me.
Some of them stare with wonder, some say ‘poor thing, it’s a pity he is in there’ – thanks to their kindness.
Others say ‘he deserves it, this bowl is too good for him’.

No one knows that you get fried and shed skin, a hundred times a day, in the bowl.
Hard to believe, but it is more like dying than living.

What is the difference? Whether in a bowl or in a sea, it’s all about water, and only water. You are swimming in time, whether in a sea or a dream.

In the bowl, people’s looks tie and untie in your eyes like a shoe lace.
They remind you everyday, who you are and where you are.

Lets move on…

This new year was a bit different. I don’t know why we people always look for differences… I was lost in the differences too when she gave me my first new year present and reminded me I exist.

She had arranged 7 for me, but I only had one salute:

Salute to the mirror that showed me a reflection of a different me.
Salute to the person who reminded me of the fresh colours of white poplar trees.
Salute to the greenness of spring, where no flowers of regret are to be grown.
Salute to the dim light of a candle in the distance, however small but full of potential and eagerness to become a butterfly.
Salute to the sweetness of an innocent smile.
Salute to freedom, even as short as a dream.
Salute to the people I don’t know, but smell like a soul alive.

Manus Island 27 months

I am a Helpless Person

Your policy is giving me
a stressful situation at this moment.
I have no strength to
stand up to you.
You have covered my way
in your fence.
I am now in this dusty place –
A frustrated man.
I feel this place is a funeral parlour.
I have almost given up hope.
Extreme pain is
filling my heart every day.
Now uncountable troubles
surround me…
I feel tired and impatient.
I have nothing to do here.
I cry to you from the
bottom of my heart.
Here my plans have failed within me.
I know you are not brutal.
I have bulimia with my life.
Can you feel it?

I have a burden on my shoulders
Can you see it?
It is like capital punishment.
My life has capsized like a boat.
Show me your sympathy for my life.
I am here a helpless person…

– Ravi,
Nauru detention 2 years

I drench your feet with my tears

I am poor and needy,
my heart stricken within me.
I am gone like an evening shadow.

My body is a ghost.
My eyes are awake
before the watchers of the night.

When can I see my family again?
I am counting the days.
They stretch before me without end.

I have nothing within me
but hopes, dreams and sorrows.

Look on my affliction.
Send your light to my darkness.
You are my protector at the moment

Give me your hand
Counsel me
and attend to my cries.

Grant me justice.
Hear my voice.
Deliver me from this prison.

Though I am shaken off like a locust
Rise within me.

Nauru detention 2 years