Oh Brother, My Brother

My crossing of continents is nothing compared with our crossing of cultures

My prison of cluttered complication to your simple sacred freedom

The clothes we wear

The colour of skin

The food we eat

The words we speak

The God we know

The books we read

The patterns in

The lives we lead

Yet, brother, how we bonded

In that universal word-free language of laughter

In that joyful shared love of music

Your carcashets and tam-tams

My rhythm and my harp

Our improvised percussion as we penetrate the dark

With our sound

Our music

Our laughter

Our love

And that look in your eyes

As we sing lullabies

In two languages

Muddled, struggled

Chuckled, giggled

Our bond somehow enhanced by a hundred million stars

Enhanced by our isolation

Enhanced by the flames of the fire

Where you bake us that bread

Bread baked under hot sand

Broken and shared by your hand

And somehow we both understand

That we have more in common

Than our differences could ever command

Sealed with a moment, a hug

Oh brother, my brother

My friend


This poem was inspired by a moment. An eye contact, and a collapse into giggles, as Mohammed played my harp and stared into my eyes as he sang me to sleep by the fire in the desert 


                                                                                                       Tony Bown