In where I drew my first breath I had no say,
Yet, deeply etched into my heart, mind and my soul,
The place of my birth will forever stay.
It was Nederland, a small country in Europe along the North Sea;
With its own customs and traditions, and its landscape
Of rivers, canals, dykes and windmills as far as one can see.
The Dutch language I spoke as a child instilled in my brain,
Will always be there, even though in Australia
I must converse in a tongue which to me is rather foreign.
When I write, the Dutch and English grammars often fight.
In my head I still count Een, Twee, en Drie, as I was taught,
Not One, Two and Three, now the words are meant to be right.
In my garden are roses, my Father used to grow.
When I stop and smell them, I’m flooded with
Memories of gardens I used to know.
The smell of some foods take me back home too.
Nostalgia teases my taste-buds, and I keep
The traditional Dutch dishes on my daily menu.
Some days my conscience asks me again and again,
‘Why did you forsake your Motherland?
Were you too young, adventurous, and not patriotic then?’
Time waits for no one, and there is no going back for me.
Even if I did, the homeland I left is no longer the same.
I’ll hang onto memories, that in my mind I can still vividly see.