Yearning to go home

Adam Mickiewicz
Throughout my childhood, right through into my twenties, this painting hung on the wall of the fireplace in our dining room. It shows the great polish poet and writer, Adam Mickiewicz at prayer, and the caption says "In this way, by a miracle, you will return us to our homeland". These lines are from Mickiewicz famous epic poem Pan Tadeusz.

Mickiewicz lived in exile from Poland after five years of internal exile to Russia. He lived many years in Paris, and died in Constantinople.

The house was sold after my parents divorce, sometime in the late 80's. I didn'tgive the picture a second thought. When we were clearing my dad's flat, we came across the picture again. The full significance and poignancy of the picture and the words hanging over the mantlepiece of two people taken to Siberia as children and exiled for ever from their homeland struck me with great force.

It's a powerful picture.