An Immigrant Story
This poem is inspired by the book, More, written by Austin Clarke, a novelist and journalist from Barbados and living in Toronto. Clarke has received numerous book awards over the years for his writing about the Caribbean immigrant experiences in Canada. More, is an award winning novel that centres around the character, Idora, who is an immigrant from Barbados living in Toronto for the last thirty years. The book describes the details of her psychological breakdown over four nights and three days as she recalls her life in the city, and her relationship with her son, BJ who became a victim of a life of crime and gangs. The book is a realistic reflection of the unrealized dreams and aspirations of many immigrants, but it's also about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of tragedy and loss. It is a great read for anyone, especially immigrants from the Caribbean who struggle with adjusting to life in new country.
She disembarks from the plane, bright eyes, confidence soaring;
As tall as the Kilimanjaro; anticipation and excitement abound;
The world is hers to discover; spirit’s onward and upward roaring.
She knows her worth; her place in the world is certain to be found;
She smiles with reassurance, grace, hope, appreciation and promise
In search for a better life; her ambitions and dreams are galvanise
Giddy with anticipation, she steps into her future.
Fast-forward two decades later; the picture has transformed
She is filled with doubt, disappointment and lowered expectations.
Over the past twenty years below the glass ceiling without reform
She toils; underachievement, mediocrity and endless frustrations
She’s disillusioned, professionally stunted, disgruntled and disappointed
Lost time, lost dreams, unrealized ambitions; feeling disjointed
Dejected she stands taking the long view backwards.
Years that garnered no recognition; no accolades to display
A nameless face in the sea of crumpled expectations and dreams
Violated by the dream stealer; its ravages continuously replay
Regrets and memories become the soundtrack of her screams
Bitter and bruised; like a tired old forgotten warrior after the war
She wears no epaulette, no badge of honour; not even a star
Her life’s a graveyard of unforgotten dreams.
So here she stands on the precipice of despair; taking in the longue dur`ee
Looking at her crumpled hopes, dreams and aspirations; she hysterically weeps
Weeping for the lost of what could have been; for the missed shouts of hooray!
Desperate and frustrated she inches toward the edge; how much pain can she keep?
Then beauty wraps its fingers around hers and whispers “You are enough!”
Smiles and courage return and despair and frustration are rebuffed.
...The sun will come out tomorrow.