(à Camus – Exile and the Kingdom)

We set off on our various roads,
some together, some apart.
We’ve little choice in where we start
our own long journey to the heart.

We never know before the time
whether decisions that we make,
or separate turnings that we take,
will lead us to a final break.

The separation hits you then –
you’re studying the ticket in your hand
and thinking how it wasn’t what you planned,
to be an exile in a foreign land.

You realise the truth in this:
you never see the same place twice.
You wish you’d listened to that advice
before you had to reckon up the price.

But now the barrier has come down,
now they’ve dug a trench across that road,
you remember what is owed
when all that you can do is write in code.

“They’ll miss me. More toothache than heartache!”
is how you joke it off at first
before you get that terrible thirst.
Each time you think that it’s the worst.

The news you do get only tells
what you are missing in the life
of lover, children, parents, wife
you left in friendship or in strife.

In case your paths should meet again,
you go through agony like this,
dreaming of a welcome kiss
you hope to get from ones you miss.