the sanctuary of tomorrow by Rumaysa

By Rumaysa, Stage 4

Written as part of Factory Feedback

so gentle it seemed, and if there was a time for peace as soft and light as cotton ‘twas now

 when the sunlight split the thick dark clouds and time evaporated

but even facing beauty that may not even exist they still held onto hope 

 this breath of air 

before the chilled wind pulled the darkness closer and those

shivering desolate figures drew icy breaths that burned like flickering flames of fire—

like the fire that was slowly but surely approaching them from the west where the storm was gathering, where others agonized, isolated together, chained to their own desires, unable to escape the disaster sure to befall them ere the time passed

and yet they did not realise their encagement,

learning the colourful world through black-and-white lenses

looking past the bars instead of through them

trapped in their plush velvet riches

surrounded by every timeless pleasure 

fancy deep purple curtains

suits with shiny cuffs and

“dear get this adjusted” after a month

whilst at their feet lay hopeless exhausted men begging for the charity they needed, not wanted—did not they once be side by side?

for what reason did this madness continue? where were the 

blackbirds singing drops of sweet melody quivering in the air 

and the thunder hiss waves on soft sand 

dappled sunlight through leaves globes of golden hope

 lulling drumbeat of rain

time standing still


 what use was there in remembering what use 

oh God what use if down by the stream the fish floating brown mud stink oh it smelled not even the dogs would come near 

but as the sunlight stroked their faces one last time it dawned that this may yet be fixed

p  a  s  s  e  d     m  o  m  e  n  t

could not flee from doubt (monster or simply inherent?)

the tendrils intertwining vines

into their hearts

SQUEEZE and control

sky overcast 

who were they kidding?

‘twould always be that beauty was no more than a mask concealing their fear, 

that painted clown face with its ghoulish whites and reds

how it jeered as it faded when it wished, that


and they watched as they stood 



whilst tiny pinpricks in the dark taunted of what once was and what would never be,

whispers from worlds long faded to warm memories remembered cold those stories of old 

and the wail reached them 

doom had come.

 the soft cotton forgotten as they huddled under rocks like heads

the moss soft hair

 not cotton

never cotton again

 ‘twould never be 

(behold the mighty fearcold hug)

and the rain began


the shards of [hour]glass 

continued to fall 

streams of sand 

swept away by the wind 

rivers of deepest red flowed 

the earth soaked up thirstily 

‘twould always be they who bled

‘twould always be they who lost a battle not yet fought,

who were thought lost and far from home

(but where was home if home was lost?)

‘twould always be they whose shadows never left them

even once the sun sank into fiery oblivion

(to rise once more, always to rise once more and yet here they slept) 

they gave all they had gave up gave in give a gift what did it matter 

who were they kidding?

 ‘twas the same

‘twould always be

and years later their sons searching for what once was

see a sea of sunflowers as red as the dawn they were seeking

that at last cast its fingers over them—

and they were there

they were gone

but what did it matter? they were whole once more

they were home.

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

Program sponsor logo