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It was then, could be now

    It was then, could be now, 
    the people were taken, 
    put on set tracks hurtling 
    towards an abyss. 

    First came the camps. 
    That old Russian tradition, 
    much more macro than Russia.  
    they were forced to work, 
    not as those valued cogs, 
    but as the train wheels 
    pushed forward, out of their control.  

    Then the most divine of comedies. 
    The old oppressor, now a ‘friend’, 
    and a new home approaching from the south. 

    An ancient land. Neither axis or ally, 
    neither here nor there. 
    They took in our children, 
    sympathy and humanity reign. 

    This still was not home. 
    We were called to those east African coasts, 
    our host nation being no different from the old oppressor. 
    How many Africans died for this? 

    As a cosmic correction, we made way to the hosts homeland.  
    Still not home, yet still welcome,  
    a land, that held peace, at least for us.  

    Maybe this land could be home, 
    maybe it has to be. 
    I can sit or stand, 
    breathe in fresh Scottish air,  
    my home isn’t mine now. 
    Some international game of pass the parcel. 
    I can sit and hope, 
    but I don’t have much more to hope for.   

    Saph Forsyth

    This poem by Saph Forsyth was written in response to Diana Forster’s artwork Somewhere to Stay.

    With thanks to Nik Perring and Never Such Innocence for facilitating workshops to help young people across Fife to explore forced migration and the wider legacies of war through art and poetry.