Where home is by Stella Pierides

He scours streets, bus and tube stations for newspapers. Two years
since he arrived in London and he is still amazed at how many
newspapers lie discarded around. Although he cannot decipher the
writing, they are ideal for keeping warm.

He stuffs them inside his pullover and feels like a king: he needs for
nothing. He is warm and fed: the city overflows with leftovers. He
beds down whenever he is tired, wherever he finds a warm doorway from
where he can look at the sky.

He loves summer best. At night, sneaking into Finsbury Park, he heads
for his favourite bench, near the lake. It is cool and the sky is full
of stars. Not as spectacular as the sky in his village, in the
floodplains of the Mesopotamian Iraqi marshes, where the stars shine
like diamonds on black velvet, but it works.

It illuminates the memories that follow him like his shadow: the rice
fields and the boat he made himself from reeds, the water buffalo; his
father, punting through narrow channels. The Garden of Eden.

Then he counts the stars, looks for patterns, for directions; for a
sign that it is safe to return home. His heart, filled with nostalgia,
trembles like a bird. Often though, he counts his blessings: here,
among the floods of people filling the channels of this city, he can
blend in and feel safer than in the marshes of his homeland – till it
is time to return.


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Filed under Stella Pierides

13 responses to “Where home is by Stella Pierides

  1. Just lovely, Stella. Poignant and real.

  2. powerful merge of modern western city life and the world of refugees. thanks for picking up this theme. last month i read that there are around 3 million Iraqi refugees who fled the country in the time of war and instability. so many, dreaming of home.

  3. Wonderfully rich setting details and a warm portrait drawn here with a sensitive approach to this week’s theme at 52/250. So glad you are here!

  4. Thank you very much for your comments. I read about the marsh Arabs in the past, and I also googled the topic recently: sad stories of these people following the war, but they were also persecuted by the previours regime; and such a different life in the marshlands. There are some amazing pictures on the web too.

  5. what a wonder that there are indeed those in this spot who want for nothing, well painted picture.

  6. Len Kuntz

    yes, i agree with susan–it felt very real, almost nostalgic. nicely done, stella.

  7. Powerful and important. I love the detail of the newspapers in particular.

  8. Freeganism meets nostalgia. Nicely done.

  9. Poignant. The cities are filled with refugees whose hearts tremble like birds. Moving story. Peace…

  10. Kelly Grotke

    a good human thing to write about

  11. Al McDermid

    This is wonderful. Don’t think I’ve read anything that puts homelessness in a positive light; good to be reminded it’s all about perspective.

  12. Pingback: Week # 30 – Urban convert | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  13. ah…i was moved by the image of the man failing to decipher the writing – and that made the papers perfect for keeping warm. imaginative, visceral touch!

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