Where the northern wind
stacked rocky islands in an arch across the sea,
where orange and almond blossoms
twist the air with heady perfume,
I came as a foreigner
and met a man of three tongues:
wind on his breath, he welcomed me
with words I understood.
II. Saint Francis
Where the frothy sea bit into winter sands
we looked out upon the cosmos
wondering if we might feel the sting
of medusas at our feet.
Seabirds called and foraged the beach.
A man at peace with his own land
can make any person marvel.
He sighs with content at the sight:
sun-flecked sheep grazing the valley below –
Who could fail to fall in love?
How is it that this place feels more like refuge
than the one from which I came?
Elm for olive, oak for almond, stone for stone,
sweet brine and citrus kisses graced my face
and as their own, embraced me.
My homeplace is as strange to me
as any unknown land –
I see there are no foreigners on planet Earth
as long as somewhere,
strangers wait with open hearts.