anna omelchenko
They say you can’t go back
by Rose Kelland

I looked back.
Green lawn.
Edges dancing with sun-drenched colour
Of pansies, impatiens, roses, cassia, pampas grass.

I looked back
At pastures, cows
Grazing in slow motion.

I looked back
At neighbours, friends,
Dogs stretching
Cats chasing moths, butterflies, imaginary insects.

I looked back
At the Hadeda
Jabbing his beak into the choicest worm then
Startled, rising clumsily, squawking.
I wouldn’t miss him — or would I?

A new family will discover
Another child will roll over the soft green grass
Another dog will dart in and out
Another cat will tiptoe.

We walk into
Our box within a box.
Bushes lining a cricket pitch garden
Pebbles the narrow width.

Cars lining streets
A constant snake of metal boxes.
Sky unzipped by flying predators
Talons down, screaming at the pounce.

Neighbours hanging undies just inches
From my window.
The sun playing with yellow t-shirts
Pink panties, white pillowslips, green dresses.
A gentle breeze teaching them to dance.

And I long to go back.
Many tears will flow
I can’t go back
Home is another hemisphere.

PHOTO: “Mountains, South Africa, Outeniqua Pass” by Anna Omelchenko. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose Kelland left South Africa with her husband and youngest daughter, to settle in the UK in December 2006. Her home in South Africa was a semi-rural town, and they moved to south west London, under the Heathrow flight path. Moving from an average sized South African house with large garden, to a mid-terrace small London home, was part of the huge culture shock.

AUTHOR PHOTO: On holiday in Dartmouth, U.K., 2008.