Poetically Speaking: When I Came From Nepal by Mukahang Limbu

Everest_Panarama

One year ago this week I set off for Nepal.  After 10 magnificent, gruelling breathtaking days of trekking through the incomparable Himalayas I made it to Everest Base Camp.  A couple of weeks ago I came across this fitting poem in the Sunday Times.  When I Came From Nepal is written by 13 year old Mukahang Limbu.  He moved to England after spending his early childhood in Nepal.  It is about the shock of adapting to life in England.  His poem became the winning entry of the first Sunday Times National Writing Competition.

When I First Came From Nepal

As I clutched my suitcase …
thick hot sweat
built in the slits
of my palms, which
shook holding its cool
metal brace. We walked
into day-winds, thick
as dried out paint
on unwashed canvas.
The sky was painted
daffodil yellow. The ground
was a dirty grey.
There was a metal bird:
an array of fearful,
forgotten
paint.

**

Missing the feeling of home
I smell the iron rust
of the Municipal Gardens.
The sour tang of home still
sits on the tip of my tongue
like the zest of sweet citrus
fizzing.

**

I did not know
of grey, gravel roads,
or the bright buzzing,
of scarlet cars.
I did not know
of lonely red-bricked houses,
gazing strangers,
standing next to next,
military officers, in endless rows.
I did not know,
of silence in the streets,
or the secret whispers on the buses,
or the sly gestures of restaurants.

***

I know now
In this place,
where I did not know,
the things I did not know
embrace me in ways
I didn’t know.

Mukahang Limbu, 13

image via changing-pages

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