Former Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani poses during a photo shoot on November 19, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The Friday Poem: Forgive me my love by Behrouz Boochani

A poem by writer, journalist, and former Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani.

Forgive me my love

Translated by Moones Mansoubi, Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, 2018


Forgive me my bird as I am not able to embrace you.

But here,

in this corner,

I know some migrating birds that I smile to at dawn.

I embrace them with open arms,

as open as the immensity of the sky.


My beautiful love!

Forgive me as I am not able to drink the aroma of your breath,

but here, in the ruins of this prison,

wildflowers grow each morning in my heart

and in the dead of night they drift into sleep with me, where I rest.


Forgive me my angel!

As I am not able to caress your gentle skin with my fingertips.

But I have a lifelong friendship with the zephyr

and those gentle winds from the sea strum my bare skin here in this tropical purgatory.

Forgive me, as I am not able to climb the verdant mountains of your body,

but here, in the depths of darkness, always at midnight, I enjoy deep and utter seclusion

among the tall and dignified coconut trees.


My beautiful! I sing to you the profundities of the most ancient and enigmatic songs,

far away from the world, a man loves you from within the deepest oceans and the darkest forests.

Inside a cage,

the man loves you,

inside a cage located between the vastest ocean and the densest jungle . . .


Forgive me my love as I am solely able to love you from a remote island,

inside a cage,

from the corner of this small room.

Forgive me please as the only part of the world that belongs to me are these fragments.



This poem appears in Solid Air: Australian and New Zealand Spoken Word, edited by David Stavanger and Anne-Marie Te Whiu (University of Queensland Press, 2019).

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.