Photo courtesy of Human Rights Watch

A monk and a poet were born in a country

Where only one of them was free.

Is it the bruised that should be accused?

For painting the target on their forehead?

For writing lyrics that make your blood sing,

Then arrest the mothers, whose lamenting

For lost sons, year after year, makes you question

Who gets the air time,

Who gets the pardons,

Who failed to prevent over twelve thousand deaths,

But whose religion is labelled the threat.

The security apparatus enforced against those

With the audacity to write without re-thinking, speak without censoring,

Changing the words of this poem, again and again,

Taming the lion for fear of being detained

Because of what may be read between the lines,

While those that inspired these timid words

Instigate freely –

Call our children volatile, our modesty extreme, our vocabulary

Temperamental, weaponised against us, so you can arrest us

When we respond with sonnets on our tongues,

Prisoners to be rehabilitated out of our conscience,

We mourn the ones we lost from a distance,

And tell our living to be careful, watch over your shoulder,

Maybe search for life elsewhere, don’t look back at

The only home you’ve ever known, because the prayer

Whispered into your ears when you were born,

May now be considered incitement.

A monk and a poet were born in the same country,

One wears the nation’s flag,

The other writes poems on four walls

Where no one will read them.