Refugees

I posted this poem a year or so ago, and I think it bears re-posting again now. In fact, I think I should post it repeatedly every year until everybody understands the situation most of these people find themselves in through no fault of their own.

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The first time she ever set eyes on the sea,

She was forty seven.

 

It was a long road there.

She set off with little enough,

And arrived with much less.

 

She had a home, once.

A house,

In a well-to-do area of the city.

Life was good.

 

But fear came,

In the form of bullets, shells and bombs.

Once, gas.

Then everyone lived in fear.

 

Her house is rubble, now.

Memories and possessions buried,

Alongside her husband.

 

Alongside her daughter.

 

Alongside her middle son.

 

Her hands are scarred from the digging.

For weeks,

Her palms were raw and bloody,

from blocks of masonry,

Too large to move.

 

Dust and tears.

 

It was bad enough to lose everything,

But when you’re caught in the cross-fire,

And the food runs out,

What else can you do?

 

Her eldest son paid for the crossing,

With borrowed money.

 

Somewhere,

He is ‘paying off’ the loan.

A bonded labourer.

A slave.

 

She fears for him.

 

Her youngest son was washed away.

The dinghy was too small,

The passengers too many.

Fear.

You could smell it,

Alongside the despair.

The panic.

There were fewer of them when the sun rose.

 

There is shelter here,

Of a sort.

But when the wind blows she shivers,

Drawing near to the oil drum blaze.

 

There is food,

Once a day.

Of a sort.

 

There was a welcome.

She soon learns what sort.

 

Now, she walks down to the sea.

 

She wonders whether she should,

Whether she should just,

Just, slip under,

The waves.

 

Refuge

Untitled-TrueColor-01

The first time she ever set eyes on the sea,

She was forty seven.

 

It was a long road there.

She set off with little enough,

And arrived with much less.

 

She had a home, once.

A house,

In a well-to-do area of the city.

Life was good.

 

But fear came,

In the form of bullets, shells and bombs.

Once, gas.

 

Her house is rubble, now.

Memories and possessions buried,

Alongside her husband.

 

Alongside her daughter.

 

Alongside her middle son.

 

Her hands are scarred from the digging.

For weeks,

Her palms were raw and bloody,

from blocks of masonry,

Too large to move.

 

Dust and tears.

The pain came later.

 

It was bad enough to lose her home,

But when you’re caught in the cross-fire,

And the food runs out,

What else can you do?

 

Her eldest son paid for the crossing,

With borrowed money.

 

Somewhere,

He is ‘paying off’ the loan.

A bonded labourer.

A slave.

 

Her youngest son was washed away.

The dinghy was too small,

The passengers too many.

Fear.

You could smell it,

Alongside the despair.

The panic.

There were fewer of them when the sun rose.

 

There is shelter here,

Of a sort.

But when the wind blows she shivers,

Drawing near the oil drum blaze.

 

There is food,

Once a day.

Of a sort.

 

There was a welcome.

She soon learns what sort.

 

Now, she walks down to the sea.

 

She wonders whether she should,

Whether she should just,

Just, slip under,

The waves.

Welcome!

So, welcome, indeed, to my new website and blog. After several years of making do with one site that has had to somehow manage to show my travel photographs, my paintings, and my writings, I’ve finally got around to splitting it up and moving all of the posts on my writings to this new site. I’m slowly getting used to using the editor, and I’ve no doubt that there will be many changes in the coming months, some of them major ones. Once I’ve got the hang of it a little more than I have so far, then as well as the blog page, I hope to have a page about my writing projects, a page of ‘political’ essays, and once my first book is published, hopefully this winter, then another page also to link to my published work. With the ‘fun’ that I’ve already had today just getting this far, however, it will not be a total surprise if the whole thing were to delete itself just as soon as I press the ‘publish’ button.

In which case, you’ll never get to read this, and you’ll find me in the pub just down the road.

But, let’s assume that it all goes as it should do, and that you, dear visitor, have either stumbled upon this post whilst looking for something else, or have been enticed here by my sending you an email promising posts of great wisdom and interest and now you want a reason to stay and look around, and, hopefully, even return again. What can I offer you? Hmm…how about, for a start, *Fanfare* This week’s carefully selected random photograph is…

Featured image

A bit gimmicky, perhaps, but it might intrigue you… what will next week’s be of? Or, how about if I were to send you one of my short stories if you sign up to receive notifications of new blog posts? Okay, let’s do that, then. Leave your email address by clicking the ‘Follow’ button in the right hand column, and I’ll let you know when I’ve put up a new post, and send you the short story in PDF format.

And then the blogs themselves, of course.  I note that we are already into late summer; the greens are beginning to look a little tired, the farmers are harvesting whatever it is that they have been nurturing all year, and all the various fruits and berries and nuts are ripening on the trees. The weather will soon turn cold and wet and miserable and then there will be nothing for it other than to sit around the fireside with a glass or two of something cheerful and the latest blog to read. What could be better?

If you’ve got this far, then my challenge is to keep your interest!