Detained on Manus Island for five years, journalist Behrouz Boochani has recorded the experience in film, essays and poetry. By Behrouz Boochani.

Manus Island poem



Forgive me, my bird, as I am not able to embrace you.

But here,

in this corner,

I know some immigrant birds. I smile at them at the crack of dawn

and I embrace them with open arms,

as open as the immensity of the sky.

My beautiful love!

Forgive me, as I am not able to quaff the aromatic scent of your breaths,

but here, in this ruin,

I know some wildflowers which grow every morning in my heart,

and at the dead of the night, they drift into sleep with me, in my place.

Forgive me, my angel!

I am not able to caress your gentle skin with my fingertips.

But I have a lifelong friendship with sea zephyrs

and those zephyrs strum my nude skin here, in this green hell!

Forgive me, as I am not able to climb the green mountains of your body,

but here, at a depth of the darkness, in the middle of every night, I enjoy deep and utter seclusion with the tallest and more vain coconut trees.

My beautiful! I sing you in the profundities of the oldest and the oddest songs,

further away from the world of a man who loves you amongst the deepest oceans and the darkest forests.

Inside a cage,

the man loves you,

inside the cage located between the vastest ocean and the greenest forests.

Forgive me, my love.

Forgive me, my love, as I am only able to love you from a remote island,

inside the cage,

from the corner of this small room.

Forgive me, please, as the only portion of the world that belongs to me is these pieces.




Translation: Moones Mansoubi

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on June 16, 2018 as "Behrouz Boochani – Untitled".

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Behrouz Boochani is a senior adjunct research fellow with the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury, and is an associate professor at the University of NSW.

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