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I Wish You...

I wish you an African morning,
I wish you an Eden land.
Ivory grasses spread at your feet,
thorn trees and copper sand.
Where the first cool moments of dawning
are scorched by the bright sun’s birth,
and molten horizons miraged by the heat
quiver above the earth.

I wish you an African sunset,
I wish you a sky on fire.
A thousand red blood-glow horizon
of the day’s passed funeral pyre.
Where the shredded clouds form a dark net
to catch the last bright blaze
of the mighty fleeing bronze-cast sun
As it sets in a scarlet haze.

I wish you an African midnight.
I wish you an heavenly sea.
To drown in a dark star ocean
And float on the tide back to me.
Where the foam of the waves is the starlight
that swirls through the endless skies.
To billow and crash without motion
And beach in a spray of fireflies.

Copyright Michelle Frost ~ December 2001

Homeland was first published online 2001. Since then it has been published in many places and travelled far further than I could have ever dreamed... or imagined! I wrote it to set free an old sorrow, never expecting it would echo in the hearts of so many others, from all over the world.

I actually wrote the last line of the last verse first - scribbled onto a scrap of paper in a doctor's waiting room. It would take me a full two months to work through the emotional journey of writing the rest.


Within my soul, within my mind,
There lies a place I cannot find.
Home of my heart. Land of my birth.
Smoke-coloured stone and flame-coloured earth.
Electric skies. Shivering heat.
Blood-red clay beneath my feet.

At night when finally alone,
I close my eyes - and I am home.
I kneel and touch the blood-warm sand
And feel the pulse beneath my hand
Of an ancient life too old to name,
In an ancient land too wild to tame.

How can I show you what I feel?
How can I make this essence real?
I search for words in dumb frustration
To try and form some explanation,
But how can heart and soul be caught
In one-dimensional written thought?

If love and longing are a “fire”
And Man “consumed” by his desire,
Then this love is no simple flame
That mortal thought can hold or tame.
As deep within the earth’s own core
The love of home burns evermore.

But what is home? I hear them say,
This never was yours anyway.
You have no birthright to this place,
Descendant from another race.
An immigrant? A pioneer?
You are no longer welcome here.

Whoever said that love made sense?
“I love” is an “imperfect” tense.
To love in vain has been Man’s fate
From history to present date.
I have no grounds for dispensation,
I know I have no home or Nation.

For just one moment in the night
I am complete, my soul takes flight.
For just one moment… then it’s gone
And I am once again undone.
Never complete. Never whole.
White skin and an African soul.

Copyright Michelle Frost ~ 21 August, 2001

Earth Mother's Prayer

air and fire,
inspire us
weave desire
everything we do;
our hearts true.

our needle

stone and earth,
rebirth in us
a reconnection
the land beneath our feet;
us complete.

our bridge

woods and watery
teach us
through empathy
all living creatures grand or lowly;
all life is holy.

our balance

Copyright Michelle Frost ~ 21 August, 2001

The next poem was written on a grocery list notepad, as I was cooking dinner, one snowy December evening.

Saints and Martyrs

Where were you, when the world ended,
and everything was suspended,
and the angels came?
Did they call your name?”

He held my hand and smiled,
like a child who has seen
the other side of magic.
Nothing tragic in this sharing;
his bearing was that of a man

His grip was firm. An old man’s hand,
grained by life and turned on the wheel,
as we turned on the wheel
in spinning snow;
his eyes the axis and centre
to a world I could not enter. His eyes
surprised me into surrender and I stood
and looked beyond what was safe to see.
Him and me, spinning time

the softest feathers, the lightest snow.
the spiral sane men fear and madmen know.

Snow, like angel wings, enfolded us
in silence. I held his hand; he held my gaze.
And I, amazed at my own composure,
unsure how to leave
yet knowing I could not stay;
Longing to stay... I walked away.

The sadness in my eyes, so close to tears,
were fears not for his sanity, but mine.
The likes of me, condemned
to be too grounded
in this well founded world to stay,
I walked away well floundered. I grieved
that meeting; that all too fleeting glimpse
of Paradise in his eyes.


  1. comments moved from former blog

    earthlingorgeous6 November 2008 at 09:53

    Wow Michelle this is such an emotional poem. Lots of feeling in here as I read through. Awesome. Thanks for dropping by my blog by the way.

    Burcu13 November 2008 at 23:21

    I really love reading or listening to poem alive because the harmony of the words takes me away....

    Love from Turkey


    Mimi Lenox26 February 2009 at 09:25

    This is haunting and beautiful.

    June Saville25 March 2009 at 17:49

    I shall enjoy getting to know you and your poetry Michelle. I found the sentiments in 'Homeland' wrenching, even though I have not had personal experience of your pain.

    I'm pleased you enjoyed my 'Lamb Chops and Apple Pie', and I hope we do keep in touch. I think we will understand each other - at least as writers.
    June in Oz

    Guy McLaren18 May 2009 at 00:38

    Michelle thanks for pointing out that you were the author of the poem left as a comment on my blog. I have linked to your blog and thus the original poem.

    LauraS13 June 2009 at 23:53

    Hi Michelle
    I first read your poem Homeland last year (2008) and asked my facebook friends who wrote it - it seems you are well known! It made me cry the first time I read it and every time since because it so perfectly captures the way I feel. I was told you live in Scotland now - me too. I went home for the first time in 8.5 years in January this year and came back very unsettled again because no matter how many years pass, to return to one's homeland is a powerful thing. So I read your poem again this morning and once again felt the prickle of tears!

    brontyb2 July 2009 at 15:56

    I've tried to reach you but your email keeps rejecting. I love this poem - Homeland - and I'd like your permission to reprint it and use it in my new book "Torn in the New SA". If you give permission, please let me know how I should credit you / what details you want me to use. I intend to have it out by the end of summertime. I'm probably one of the US visitors to your poetry site that received so many hits :-) recently.

    Daisy31 July 2009 at 21:16

    Wow! This is such a beautiful poem and so deserved to be published and republished for the world to see!
    Wish You a Happy weekend!


    SEMBI12 August 2009 at 12:03

    Hey Michelle,

    I happened to stumble on this poem when I was 12 and being thrown across the globe. I constantly go back to it because you have managed to capture Home in such a meaningful way, it never ceases to warm my heart. As you can see, it is used as a constant source of inspiration for both myself and my friends.

    I am an art student in Malaysia now (My latest home ;)) And want to ask your permission to use this as the basis of my Final exam? I am hoping to centre my project around "White skin and an African soul"


  2. Sean Stanley-Adams19 March 2010 at 10:58

    Just a quick note to say that a friend emailed a (truncated) version of "Homeland". I found it incredibly moving: it touched something deep inside me and it summed up my feelings as a Rhodesian-born, South African-raised and now UK resident (albeit near Winchester, not Scotland like yourself). I, too, miss the beauty, life and sheer unadulterated magnificence of the Southern skies. I am an amateur astronomer or at least I was before I moved here. What with cloud, rain and those damned orange sodium street lamps ... I didm't know who penned this poem until I googled it only to discover "I Wish You..".

    Thanks for bringing a tear to the eye of an ageing white african.

    Sean Adams

    Anonymous9 June 2010 at 09:58

    Hi Michelle, today I received this beautiful poem from a friend in England who also grew up in SA. It was titled Africa. First, it was wonderful..I was born in Cape Town, both my parents being from Italy, my Dad was a prisoner of the second World War. I have lived in the States for 19 years and really do love it, but I still can smell Africa. I am visiting this year after 11 years, the last time I went I buried my dad. My niece went to the same school you did in East London "Claredon High School" she was wondering what year you graduated. Her name was Luana Damiani then. Hope I did not bore you. Thanks very much Maria

    Levikha11 November 2010 at 04:13

    Oh, are you the original author of this poem?! I'm sooo pleased I finally found out when and by whom it was written. I first read it in school about six or seven years ago, and it became a sort of anthem for me (For years I used "...feel the pulse" as a motto, it signified the emotion of this poem to me)! I'm always referring to it, and I'm glad I finally know what to refer to.

    saheldormparents29 November 2010 at 05:27

    Michelle, I am so glad you posted this poem. We are dorm parents in a mission school in Niger. May we print your poem so all our kids can read it?
    I will be sure you get credit! I really appreciate it. We have a lot of kids that would really relate to this especially! :)

    Janice Phillips

    Gabi19 February 2011 at 00:06

    Hey Michelle,

    Beautiful poem, I was wondering if I would be able to study this for my Higher School Certificate (Year 12 in Australia)? My area of study is belonging, and the themes in your poem would be perfect to compare to my core text.

    Of course you would be credited as the author. I will run it past my teacher but I'm sure she'll agree the themes are perfect, and you've used plenty of techniques to talk about. Just checked, am able to access your email adress. May be in touch with questions. Thanks again.

    Mark15 May 2011 at 05:06

    Hi Michelle, Just received this on facebook doing its round's amongst the Zimbo community that are spread all over the world. Well done for creating this, being one of the many who was 'encouraged forcibly' to get out I find the words very healing. One thing that has been hard for me to handle is the fact that I am also from a country that will never exist anymore except in that place in my mind. Even if you go back now, it's not the same, you may see some old familiar landmarks, but the sense of belonging is not there anymore. We have been here in the U.K almost 11 years now, it's a place I didn't want to come to but had to come and it was very hard. We are now about to set out on an adventure to Oz to live, I know it won't be like home but at least my kids can experience the wide open spaces again, the dust, goggo's, sunshine and a healthier lifestyle. It won't be home, but it will be allot closer than where we are now. I will keep this poem close to my heart.
    Thanks fambai zvakanaka. Cheers, Mark

  3. Old comment on Saints and Martyrs

    christopher21 August 2014 at 11:25

    Thank you for sharing. I like this style and your command of it. There are many on line who use the poetry thing as a social thing. They may or may not actually be poets. You are a poet, I think.

  4. Walk in the Woods8 November 2009 at 03:42


    And I wish you a beautiful day.

    Anonymous17 November 2010 at 01:49

    Hi Michelle

    I love your poetry on Africa. Genuine emotions well expressed. Have an African day too! Thank you


    Jacqui16 March 2011 at 14:45

    I so miss my homeland!!

    Kariba Fish Eagle3 August 2011 at 17:59

    Beautiful and evocative.

    Yoke,3 October 2011 at 12:36

    Wow, Michelle. This brings tears to my eyes.
    I know the feeling of displacement and it doesn't matter which continent it is.

    I really love your writing, it is so powerfull.

    Lynette Killam7 November 2011 at 12:11

    I'm so pleased to have discovered your page, having been in love with Africa for years. This poem is brilliant...I will definitely come back and visit soon...:)

    Jo29 April 2013 at 13:37

    hi Michelle, i think your poem Homeland is absolutely beautiful and every single word moves me incredibly, its is very rare that I find such poems! I grew up in Zim, Lesotho, Mozambique and South Afica but my family is Portuguese, so I can totally relate. Could I please have your permission to post your poem on my notes on Facebook, I will obviously give u a full reference...facebook is my diary and hopefully i can always look back at it through the years. If not I completely understand:) keep writing! I'll keep reading...thanks for evoking my raw emotions. Joana
    Michelle1 May 2013 at 00:43

    Hi Jo

    Thank you for the kind words. You are very welcome to put up my poem, as long as it has my name as author I'm fine with anyone sharing it for personal use (not commercial, got to add that in case anyone else reads. I've had hassles with that in the past)



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