Harriet Jae




Bid for Freedom

If I could gain the freedom of my mind,
my God! I’d map its streets out like a town
and then explore those alleyways that wind
that never could be charted or pinned down.
I’d race full tilt to scale its highest towers
then leaping off I’d strut about in state,
I’d whirl around its carousels for hours
then lie down in its grass, stare up to space.
But my mind’s strange ground, I don’t possess the key.
I’m neither honoured guest, nor citizen.
My cramped thoughts never did yet wander free;
this citadel’s their prison. Pity them.
And listen – then I’ll not stay penned in long,
for I’ll outleap these bounds in outlaw song.



In 2016, Harriet Jae emigrated to Ghent, Belgium, where she is studying Dutch and recovering from a long illness. Previously she worked with refugees and as editor of a national refugee agency’s magazine. Published in The Ofi Press; long-listed for the Plough Prize in 2017.



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