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Home At Last

"A refugee worker returns home after having been in Syria for several months."
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At last, I am home after months away,
Long months that at times have seemed more like years,
When home and comfort were just a mirage;
Hard months living out of an old rucksack,
Battered and worn after years on the road,
Much like me, I suppose, old and worn out.
As an aid worker for a charity,
I thought I had seen it all, South Sudan,
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon,
So many places, so much suffering,
Faces prematurely aged, all the pain
And hopelessness of those driven from home
By famine, war, persecution and fear,
Scattered families and lonely children,
Bodies scarred and bloody, unseeing eyes.
Yes, my friends, I thought I had seen it all,
But Syria, words fail me to describe
The horror and brutality, the sheer
Incomprehensible bloody hatred
Of one human being for another.
Christ, I would rather forget if I could,
But when I close my eyes it all comes back,
A nightmare from which there is no escape,
And which is driving me slowly insane.
I need the healing time that you will bring.

But now I am home never to return,
At last granted a reprieve and new hope
Of an easier life, a promotion
To an office job and regular hours.
Let starry-eyed younger men and women
Shoulder the burden and know the horror
Of dark things that I can no longer bear.
So now I am just content to sit here
In this chair by the fire looking at you,
Your soothing presence is healing for my soul.
Tomorrow, or the next day, or next week
Will be soon enough to pick up the threads
Of normal life and to seek out old friends,
Go down to the pub for a pint or two,
Listen to the stories of their children,
Laugh a little too loud at the old jokes,
And forget, just forget, please God I can.
Most of all I will be with you at last,
Succoured by your familiar closeness,
Doing those ordinary mundane things
That we take for granted, and best of all
Finally to ask you to be my wife,
My life was just too uncertain before,
It would not have been fair, but now at last
I can find some peace in your loving arms.

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