Arad is a writer, commentator and poet. He not only writes for the page and online but is an accomplished performance poet.
A Crow’s Scream
His heart feels sad and heavy.
He gazes far away.
Exhausted and lonely
he is sitting on a rock in the camp –
his feet sore and cut.
He was forced to flee his country.
Now he’s forced to stay in a camp –
same as a scarecrow,
on an island very far away
that few have ever thought about.
He waits for a dandelion and a bird
from you to him.
His heart can make it happen.
But the bird of politics
with its sharp beak
speaks for government and Morrison
and tears at his flesh, his mind and his heart.
It steals his hope.
He never had a dream!
He’s not Damavand Young*
He is a scarecrow.
Maybe one day
a bird will take his spirt
and set it free.
Damavand Young is a big mountain in Iran; a mountain that is very strong, that nothing can shake.
Translated from Farsi to English by Arad Nik and Janet Galbraith
When you say: ‘I will not tolerate nostalgia’,
I pull the car to the side of the road.
A deep silence prevails between you and I.
How should I explain my heart so that you understand?
Should I beg?
I have no other choice but to leave my country, my home.
When I take you to your house you do not lift your head. I cannot read your eyes.
In these three days between, knowing I must leave, and leave alone, I wait immobilised, confused and helpless.
The day before my flight I send you a message:
I dress in the clothes you love and arrive an hour early to this place- the place we first met.
‘Choosing a gift has spent my time’, you say.
When you leave I do not hear your goodbye. My eyes cannot move from the space you have just
The wind stops.
The noises of the street are
I am blind to all around me.
When I return to myself, the bench we sat on is empty.
I am alone with the watch that spent 10 precious minutes of our meeting.
I feel the sound of your goodbye repeated sharply in my ears.
I cannot fight these living
– – –
The Melbourne weather is cold.
A rainy night.
The tick tick of the watch awakens doubt in me…
…of this place where I still have to beg.
– Arad Nik
Pain cannot be traded
Here, in this land, colour fights with racism
and the boats are tied to the whims of politicians.
Aboriginal people will never accept a foreign flag.
We, boat people, will never accept Nauru.
The history of this land is a bloody one
And a bloody history is being made on Manus Island.
This shameful history is repeated and repeated.
I will not repeat this history.
My words become beautiful
only when I talk with the people of this land.
In Broadmeadows, MITA, Australia continues it’s history of prison camps.
Imprisoning your ancestors as they now imprison your children.
Mother’s from afar cry tears of blood for their children,
just as the mother’s of this land cry for theirs.
We crossed the dangerous ocean with nothing.
Our hopes were with you – the people of this land –
that you would make for us a nest.
We crossed the big sky and ocean
and you kept our hope alive.
Behind your welcoming smile
I see torture and suffering
My world became beautiful when you, the First Nations people, welcomed us,
when you reached out and took my hand.
Your pain is my pain.
How can I trade it?
This land has been stolen from you
as my land has been stolen from me.
They have stolen the sky from me
as they stole it from you.
In your songs I hear my songs.
Your didgeridoo plays my heart.
In the desert the sun where I am detained
each tree and rock is witness of your history.
This is the first lesson I learned here:
I must respect the sun in your flag.
The wrinkles of your face show the heart of this land,
Just as a heart never stops working
so you work for your land, your culture, your language and children.
With you, Australia has history, has meaning.
To the others:
Please don’t ask me again about my pain.
Listen to me:
My pain cannot be traded.
If you want to understand my pain
first you must listen
to the people of this land.
– Arad Nik