for an exile

today, it seems that the familiar world has changed its face, becoming something i do not recognize. today, these words by the poet resonate within me… 

For an Exile

by John O’Donohue

When you dream, it is always home.
You are there among your own,
The rhythm of their voices rising like song
Your blood would sing through any dark.

Then you awake to find yourself listening
To the sounds of the traffic in another land.
For a moment your whole body recoils
At the strange emptiness of where you are.

This country is cold to your voice.
It is still a place without echoes.
Nothing of yours has happened here.

No one knows you,
The language slows you,
The thick accent smothers your presence.

You sound foreign to yourself;
Their eyes reflect how strange you seem
When seen across a cold distance
That has no bridge to carry
The charisma in which you friends
Delight at home.

Though your work here is hard,
It brings relief, helps your mind
In returning to the small
Bounties of your absence.

Evening is without protection;
Your room waits,
Ready to take you
Back like some convict
Who is afraid
Of the life outside.

The things you brought from home
Look back at you; out of place here
They take on a lonely power.

You cringe at the thought
That someone from home
Might see you now here,
In this unsheltered room.

Now is the time to hold faithful
To your dream, to understand
That this is an interim time
Full of awkward disconnection.

Gradually you will come to find
Your way to friends who will open
Doors into a new belonging.

Your heart will brighten
With new discovery,
Your presence will unclench
And find ease,
Letting your substance
And promise be seen.

Slowly a new world will open for you.
The eyes of your heart, refined
By this desert time, will be free
To see and celebrate the new life
For which you sacrificed everything.

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