Farhad Bandesh

Farhad has been detained for almost 6 years in Australia’s detention prisons on Manus Island.  He is a talented musician, instrument maker, an artist and a poet – coming to poetry whilst incarcerated in our black site on Manus.


Distressing, depressing moods move and
Wash like waves
Inside me now
Though I go above
To survey the sea
To gaze at waves
In a wind that makes
Tree limbs dance
And leaves to tremble.
How romantic this should be!
But never now for me
Glaring at Mother Nature from my cursed grey cage
Speaking from my heart
In nothing but the language of complaint.
Then I’m in a jail of grief-dreams
When night surrounds me
With its own particular darkness
Yet still I wait
Even now
For the light
Of Freedom.

– Farhhad Bandash 2015
Edit by Melita Luck



My soul once provided

Only tranquility

And it would not make my body impatient.

Now my soul’s tenderness for my body

Has been forgotten.

My body is in tatters.

My soul follows

To notify you:

“I am talking about Freedom!

You throw me into the corners of your dark shadows.

You put me into the very depths of exile.

The delicacy of my soul and body is no more

In this endless shadow.

If this continues any longer

I will not see anymore light

And my soul will be forever


– Farhad Bandesh,

Manus Island, 2015



Freedom so sweet

Yet for me

Merely a mirage.


– Farhad Bandesh,

Manus Island, 2015



Being without you is not my fear.

Nor is it from the grief of being alone in a prison’s embrace.

How long must I look at the calendar of life

Through the burning red of my eyes?

Where shall I sit in tis prison you made for me

Out of hard metal?

What price should be returned to me for the price of myself;

For the loss of my youth? For my banished life?

Oh Freedom! How I longed to sit in the corner of your heart!

How I laugh at you whilst you cry at my condition.

I am entirely spent yet have so much more to say.

Oh my god! How could life have become so sorrowful

That I almost drowned in the pool at the bottom of my endless tears?

Yet to sit now, in mourning, in my cage, is sweet

Yearning for that precious lost time.

My fear is not coming from my loss of you now

Nor from the grief of being all alone

Within the possibility of being destroyed.

Because breathing simply the scent of the freedom to weep is good.

It’s tick-rock is pleasing; gives colour to my life

Separating me from your yearning,

Suspended in the sky.

It is is restful on this full-bodied Freedom Mountain!

– Farhad Bandesh,

Manus Island, 2015



Distressing, depressing moods move and

wash like waves

inside me now

though I go above

to survey the sea

to gaze at waves

in a wind that makes

tree limbs dance

and leaves to tremble.

How romantic this should be!

But never now for me.

Glaring at Mother Nature from my cursed grey cage

Speaking from my heart

in nothing but the language of complaint.

Then I’m in a jail of grief-dreams

when night surrounds me

with its own particular darkness.

Yet still I wait

even now

for the light

of Freedom.

– Farhad Bandash,

Manus Island, 2015



A mother calls from an extreme distance

And her shout shakes the earth

Even the sky becomes impatient and dark

While she cries “Why are you captive? Why?”

When your camp-worker son returns to you

You search for answers, saying,

“Why John , can’t you bring these seekers of asylum

Home to me where I can give them a life?

Next time. Promise me.

Next time you come!”

But when John says “I can’t do it.

They live in a cage.

Immigration forbids it.”

Tears will fall down your face

You will collapse with a lump in your throat

Unable to find words

Choking with tears.

Everyday with your heart filled with love

You pray for our freedom

And it is for you I write this poem

Our dear mother.

I write and I say

“Wait! Our day of freedom is near and

All of us love you,

Our Mother.”


– Farhad Bandesh,

Manus Island, 2015


Wars Of Tyrants

In the depths of hearts

Shouts explode

Terrified screams

Are decisively silenced

Into macabre ashes.

What injustice!

A never-ending tale told so patiently

By storytellers who know this destruction

Historical tragedy

A violent shift in human evolution

Needing now the start of mercy

No more war.

Astonished mothers cry out at their children

Gearing up for another battle

And curse those evil hearts who urge them

To follow their bloodthirsty strategies,

Killing the delicate innocence of their young ones

In neighbouring war infested lands.

We need look no further for nightmares

Here, there and everywhere

Mothers see their children sobbing.





Listen to birds in evergreen trees

Where only good news is in their world

And where nature keeps perfectly quiet.

There arise now sighs and groans from throats

Of seekers of asylum who found no refuge here.

Yet a cry for freedom stays stifled behind their lips

In a silence louder than a scream

Which no one will hear.

The birds and creatures, even grass and trees

Stare innocently at faces made of woven oppression.

This land, understanding their pain,

Does not even murmur to the sunrise

And the wind arriving gustily from the beach

Can see that the trees will not dance with it.

So long it is that news has not come with the wind;

Does even the wind understand us?

It takes the waves of the sea to break the calm

Of this noiselessness.

And that silence is a scream,

A shout louder than nature’s quiet.

A roar from the bottom of those hearts of men,

Of utterly worn refugees.

And the silence breaks its silence

Setting free it’s songs from the depths

The shouts of sleepers

Releasing the voices of the voiceless

Screaming”Freedom! Freedom!”


– Farhad Bandesh,

Manus Island 2016



Like birds in the sky

Broken wing

Remembering with wishes

Stone peace and war


Moon full

Vivid moon

The sun becomes dark

Cry from heart

Full of grief


At the bottom


Night dark

Black colour

Cover on goodness

Tears over face

Pitiless dictators

Like conjurors in the stories

Brutal facts

Chastise kids in the class

Absurd laugh with closing lips

Ridiculous concepts

Elusive murderer


Scream of fire in rain

Unaware of humanity

Here in this world

Of living


For power


Each other

On this earth


Sky is full of light

In, over islands

Blood and wine mixed

In the pool

Fabulist dauntless

Barbarity from side of leaders

Endeavour without goal

Look at dead men

Tears, flood

Hungry wolves

Wandering sheep

A world without hatred

Regret from loss

Confiscation of self

Craving to release

Release from cesspool

  • Farhad Bandesh 2016

ed. Jenell Quinsee


I am dying

It is about three years I am in prison’s fire

Front of my little cage bars

Cold wind sparge my body’s ashes on prison’s bars

My eyes are red because of insomnia

Of injustice

Dropping blood

Let me to be in my mood

Don’t call me from a distance

My heart has become stone

What is your expectation?

Nothing but emptiness

You called me

But my ears are tired to hear

You said you are my hero

But I am not

I am dying

How can I be your hero?


I am nothing

I am no one

A human, humiliated and worthless

In the corner of the cage

The braven hate my moaning and rocking

Tired of the bars of my silence

Lips dry from screaming high

But in side of my chest

Coming.. fire’s screams

Yells burn my chest

Fire’s smile choked my throat

Dumbstruck at night

With no speaking of the grief

With tears of blood

With apparent silence

With an untimely shout

Don’t call me

I am no one any more

This story is over

I will die in my cage

No grave and shroud

With open hands

Open eyes

Gaze at the side of bars

No one believes me

I am dying

I am losing the world

One day you will forget me

Not remember me any more


I am dying



Immersion in water

No yelling there

The only hope

A piece of wood

Cling to life

‘Stay strong’, she said to herself

Feeling of suffocation

Asking help from God

Hidden beneath

Rough waves

Salvation in the arms of death

No one could help her

Not even her God


Her child was missing

Mother’s tears

Drench the ocean

A witness of death


A piece of stone


Into the path

Of injustice

It will come

You want me to write something

You want me to say

Some thing

But I can’t

I can not

I don’t know what to write

Or to say

I can only write some

I can only say some things

I don’t know where I start

I don’t know where it is exactly

That my writing goes

It’ll be like….

It’ll be a prisoner like me

In a horrible cage

Like my cage

You can help it

You can give it life!

You can share it

You, you!

I, I can remember…

I can remember a child said,

‘I need to come to your country’

I, I can remember…

I can remember the government said;

‘No, never ever

No welcome to my country

You have no place to live

Go back

Go back to your home

Or stay in the jail

There is no more home for you’.

I can remember

My feeling

I can remember

That child’s mother’s feeling.

And now I write

I write now that the game is almost over

And I say ‘Be strong mother.

Tell your child be strong’

A good day will come

It will come;

Freedom’s day’.




God could be a galaxy

God could be a mountain

Or a sea, a tree, or a flower

God could be a piece of stone

God could be human or an angel

Could be me

Or you

God could be love or hate or everything

But we have no God here

Nothing to worship

Here God just says;

‘Take it easy

Don’t worry about the future

We have no hell

We have no heaven

Do only what is humane

See you are free

No more limits

No more prophets

No more bullshit’

You and me were going the wrong way

Let’s move in the right way

Don’t worship in front of nothing

Don’t debase yourself for nothing

God is life

Life is love

Worship in love

Take me along

Let me see your eyes

When I am in your imagination

I worship you, when it becomes night

I’ll come in your black eyes

I’ll fly at the darkness of your eyes

I am forbidden from all of the things in my heart because of everyone


If you divorce me or take the time to get to know me

You will know me like yourself

I’ll reach every moment of by self from the red fire to the blue sky

Because of you

I’ve grieved, I’ve grieved in pain from the distance away from you

Tell me from Earth, Wind, Water, Fire that I’ve been in the world of mortals

Speak to me of love

From flowers and brunette and tell me, from butterflies, love the candles

Do you know how much I love you?

Take me along

I’ve become tired

The colour of sadness on my tired of heart

Press my hand in your hands

That become relaxed in my restless heart

You are my legend and my imagination

You see how I grow in the opinion of my sweet dream

I cannot remember to forget you

Your words are my words in spite of my poetry

You are the love word, in my prose

I love you, my love


My night mare

This is me that I wander about aimlessly

In dark and black night

My night is my dream

My body is victim of my soul

My dream is my wild nightmare



Afraid of sun

This is me!

My soul is a wanderer of nightmares

Night is completely dark

A tree is trembling

It only sounds of whipping on a tree’s body

Tree’s body became bruised

It cannot yell

It’s left out, alone in the world

This tree is my body

That doesn’t have anyone to see its pains

A sound breaks silence of an untouched desert

My body trembles in this dream

Dream has to be my peace!!

Suddenly appear a monster



I wanna die

I wanna die here

Let me alone

I wanna get dusty

Dirt, wind and night are rearing

My hot breath into a cold sigh!

Ominous sound of the forest

Survivor ash from a black soul

Narrow and dark roads

No, No

Don’t say ‘I am not with you any more’

Show your power

Just for a moment

Say ‘I love my life’

I cannot say that

I am sorry

Leave me alone

I wanna go

I am waiting for night



I can’t feel you any more

Go away

Leave me here

I wanna sleep

I wanna sleep for ever



Die 2

I wanna die

I wanna be alone

I wanna go

I wanna be rusty

Dirt and wind

Bloody era

Dark night

Hear my hot breath

In a cold sigh

Ominous sound from the forest

Left ashes

From dark souls

Slander path

Narrow and dark roads

No passer

Happiness from grief



Lifetime cry

Enjoyment is dead

Domain existence a mask of nightmare

Refreshing drops of rain

A bloodied asylum seeker

On a grey path!

Flood’s shame

The sound of church bells

In bad time

Lean on tree

Stormy sky

A wave of blame

Doom in cage

Hot bars on mouth

Silence of everyday a fearless judge

From false judgment

Judge death

Chance to live again

Not thinking about going back

Do you know what to do?


Or my Death Now