Nothing to do with gardening.

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I subscribe to a site called Listserve where “one person a day wins a chance to write to the growing list of subscribers.” Through this random global lottery, one of the 26,000 subscribers is drawn and they’re invited to share their ideas with others via email.  That winner gets 24 hours to prepare their ‘essay’ and to present their views, advice, favourite movies or music .. or whatever takes their fancy, to the world online.  It makes for interesting reading. Yesterday the winner of Listserve was from Queensland, the first Australian I’ve seen listed. Her name is Larsa Al-Omaishi and she gave us this poem.  I asked her if I could share it with you, as I found it very moving and thought provoking and beautiful.

Where are you from?

By: A Third Culture Kid

“Where are you from?”
He asks with a smile
I’ve heard it before
I’ve gone through this trial
“America.”
It’s not untrue
I lived there awhile
Traveled its highways
Going many a mile
From deserts to peaks
From cornfields to shores
I’ve seen many states
I’m keen to explore
“No, where are you really from?”
Where was I born?
That would be Montreal
“So you speak French?”
No, not at all
I moved to Toronto
When I was young
But English is not
My mother tongue
“Okay, but, where are you originally from?”
My parents were born
In the heart of Iraq
Upon hearing the phrase
He sits back in shock
“So … you’re Iraqian?”
It’s Iraqi, my dear Watson
“Then what languages do you speak?”

In what language do you laugh?
In what language do you cry?
In what language do you cope
When a loved one lays to die?
In what language do you love?
In what language do you hate?
In what language do you comprehend
What’s chance and what is fate?
In what language do you smile?
In what language do you frown?
You see it’s all the same my dear
From New York to Cape Town
In what language do you feel
The sting of war and pain?
In what language do you lose your home
And then rebuild again?
We are not that different
Ignoring race and creeds
We are all but human
With human wants and needs

In the hospital you’ll see
Emotions raging high
Carried on by wave and wave
Of hello and good-bye
Some are taken far too young
Some taken when it’s right
Some coming in to join the world
And blinking in bright light
Some realizing far too late
The love they should have shared
Some accepting their due time
And going well prepared
Let me share with you a fact
That few will understand
Inside that operating room, my friend
There is no human brand
You all look the same inside
Appendix, heart, and lung
Kidney, liver, spleen, and bowel
Pancreas and tongue
When we put you on that table
To try and save your life
Skin colour is of no concern
To us or to our knife

I don’t categorize myself
By a patch of land
I don’t identify myself
By merely where I stand
I don’t say I’m only a part
Of one particular race
At the end of the day, at the end of the night
I am merely in one place
We all come from the same dirt
We’re Earthlings in our blood
And borders are but foolish lines
Drawn in clumpy mud

Where am I from? I’m from The World
The same is true for you
And with that I’ll leave you here
I bid you all adieu.


Larsa is studying medicine and surgery at The University of Queensland. She asks that you vaccinate your kids.


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