Frank Prem

Zlata's Daughter

I met zlatica when I was young
on a visit to the old country
we held hands at the village dance
and walked evenings on the corzo


when I left
she gave me golden dice on a chain
and said osjećaj me - remember me




zlata is a mother now
a grandmother         a survivor of war
between croats and serbs


I don't understand what the hell
they thought they were doing
to places where we went to talk and dream
and hold hands as we walked
across the corzo cobbles




zlata named her daughter mariana
srce moj (my heart)
grew up an imitation americanka
but in a landscape painted small
with dinars instead of dollars
she met dejan on the corzo before a dance


mariana couldn't help herself        fell for a serb
and dejan chose wrong blood        mariana        a croat
there was hatred in the village for kids like that
betrayers of kin
consorts of the enemy
damn fool pacifists
he should have shaved her hair        put her out on the street
she should have cut his throat in the middle of the night




I met zlata's daughter        her dejan and their child
at a migrant place in dandenong


she told me it was better here
australians haven't learned to wear
the look that gets etched into faces
from living with war


she said she was a little lonely
no-one from home comes to visit
but they leave messages on the outside wall:


no place here for a croatian-serb
no place here for a serbian-croat
no place here for people like you
go away        go away        become invisible


she said they would leave in the morning
to go to a far away town
where no-one knows where they come from
who they are        what they are
leave the war behind them
and find a place where their child will grow
without an accent
without a heritage
without knowing hate




when I last saw her
zlata's daughter was wearing golden dice on a necklace
struggling with a new language full of strange words
and keeping up a job through difficult early times


I picture her now in my minds eye
walking with dejan and their daughter
on a dusty australian corzo
in a small town she calls moje oslobođenje


my escape to freedom




  • Goldfinch60

    Wow! What a very moving write. What is wrong with this world where so many cannot accept difference.

    • Frank Prem

      It was a terrible conflict, GF, though I suspect that is true of all of them.

      Thank you.

    • orchidee

      A fine write Frank.

      • Frank Prem

        Thanks O. Glad you enjoyed.

      • MendedFences27

        An awesome write, loaded with emotions we try to hide, like bigotry and hate. It makes one wonder if the world will ever be a safe place for all. We educate our young, but then the uneducated take control and fascism thrives.Hopefully they will find a happy life on your wonderful island.- Phil A.

        • Frank Prem

          Hi Phil. Thank you. The fascists seem to be in control everywhere. It's a worry.

        • Candlewitch

          this is a very emotion stirring write. it brought me tears. it is a heartless and hateful world for those who dare to walk a different path! excellent write!

          *hugs, Cat

          • Frank Prem

            Hey Cat. It's pretty intense, isn't it? I look at the pictures and take in the stories of the mass movement of refugees now and the 'cleansing' that is behind soe of that. It's almost too catastrophic to take in.

          • Louis Gibbs

            But another sad chapter in the ongoing madness of Wars, the favorite sport of man. But then isn't all of this illusion of life we create void of rationality? Good, impactful write, Frank!

            • Frank Prem

              No rationality at all, Louis. Thank you.

            • FredPeyer

              Beautiful, tender, yet so strong writing here, Frank!
              Living here in Hawaii, married to a Chinese woman, in a place where the majority of people is happa (half/half, or mixed) sometimes makes me forget how bad it is in other parts of the world. We make jokes about each others ethnicity, but overall we all get along. Sometimes wish the whole world would be like that.
              Thank you for a great and thought provoking poem!

              • Frank Prem

                Thank you Fred. The world is a sad and sorry place for the have-nots and the different and the less strong.

                rubbish really. Thank you for reading.

              To be able to comment and rate this poem, you must be registered. Register here or if you are already registered, login here.