Refugee

Recently I was part of a group of writers asked to share our thoughts at an event to raise awareness of refugees, although I don’t have any direct connection or involvement in such things, one can’t help but feel for their plight, refugees that is and not just economic migrants trying to ride the same road.


Refugee, now on the move,
Refugee, now off the road,
Refugee, now face down, in the water
Refugee, now lying still, lying cold

From the sands of the desert
through the salty lips of the sea
not all faces will make it
everything good, can never be

Looking out into the darkness
praying help is at hand,
craving only a little warmth
from a blanket or a friend

Landed, those who made it
Firm, the hopes that survived
Rough, the reception of strangers
Hard, any new life on this side

Refugee, now sits behind wire mesh
Refugee, now clings onto life
Refugee, now finds scant compassion
Refugee, reflects on all this strife.

Refugee,
Refugee,
Please, just let them be!


There is a short story that was written at the same time on a similar theme, you can read it here, ‘One Boy’s Day Out’

One Boy’s Day

Recently I was part of a group of writers asked to share our thoughts at an event to raise awareness of refugees, although I don’t have any direct connection or involvement in such things, one can’t help but feel for their plight, refugees that is and not just economic migrants trying to ride the same road.


The water, flashing over the collapsing roundness of the rubber boat, was dark in the Mediterranean night. Tiny fingers, grey with cold, had been hanging onto the thin safety rope for what seemed like days and now showed red at the raw edges of wet, wrinkled, skin, ripped away at the joints.

He had stopped blinking against the stinging salt from the crests of the waves, his dark eyes had settled into hard beads, frozen in their stare at the beguiling depths of the black and green water, that sparked hypnotically with the reflection of the stars above.

An indistinct shape bobbed into the boy’s narrow field of vision, but it was hard to focus, in the fight to keep awake. A larger wave boosted the object into the softening outer skin of their sinking ride, but he was unable to make any move to investigate it further. Some others hand swept into the picture, and the sodden piece of wool and straw, pushed its one-eyed face into the grey brown cheek of the boy. He let out a muffled moan, a mixture of fear and discomfort, but it was lost in the general hubbub from the 400 other souls squeezed in a space made for just a quarter of that.

Blinking away the initial fear, if his mouth could have smiled it would have, at the recognition of what might once have been, the familiar comfort of a toy camel. He just leant his chin on it, and continued in the fading hope, of the dream he had been dragged into.

His recognition of the figurine was a timely distraction, from the mop of black hair that weaved and floated with the swell of the water, as it passed by. This singular piece of flotsam that had very recently breathed with life, would soon sink to the depths and be crab food. If the boy had been just eight or nine years older, he might have easily joined the many innocent teenage boys that were quietly but callously smothered and slipped into the vast watery grave, a concept no one wanted to acknowledge it seemed. Young girls were assured safety by the value of their virginity, but boys?

A slim, familiar hand gripped the boys arm as he stared into the dark, but even for his mother’s comfort, he was not going to give up his place to the promised land of peace and plenty, despite it being nothing he could possibly know. If he could have seen a few feet below their barely floating escape, he would have been more inclined to seek out this familiar warmth, as a better place to die. The grey shark fin was an unknown terror in his sort lived world but, could so easily be the method of his departure from it.

The background noise rose noticeably and a piercingly bright light blinded the scene. The boy’s shivering body stiffened at the unfathomable intrusion and he didn’t have the choice of resistance this time as he flew into the air, his free arm trying to hang onto the sodden remains of the now lost toy.

There certainly wasn’t time to see it crushed against the black hull of the rescue boat.

The strange white face that flashed past his bewilderment, offered no smile, but the firmness of the grip, and the crackle of alien, shiny foil around him, was the beginning of a whole new world, one he hadn’t asked for, and certainly couldn’t comprehend.

Not yet anyway


There is a poem that was written at the same time on a similar theme, you can read it here, Refugee’

Dark Island

It’s a dark day today


This narrow circle of life in an ocean of sharks is getting smaller by the day. The dark water lapping inexorably at the delicate shore-line is eating inwards towards wrinkled feet where the general isolation is beginning to feel cold and more desperate, almost by the hour.

For years this had been your happy place to live, despite being only a sad rocky outcrop, there were small pockets of lush enveloping scented greenery and cool satisfying pools of delight to submerge in and rise refreshed and sated; but now even these were drying up and wilting in the emotional drought.

Pacing around the shoreline, avoiding its grey foaming lips, the tip of a once tall proud outcrop flicked into view but remained swathed in the feathery spume of the waves that washed it clean of all humanity and hope. You can’t bear to look it for long fearing that the memories of more intimate times will overwhelm you. It’s lone inhabitant that had often allowed the heat of human entanglement was long washed to their uncertain death in the watery hunger. The few other such places were now only clouded memories but at least they couldn’t taunt you with lingering promises but the certainty of a dry shrivelled humiliation.

Even the occasional glimpse of a white-topped rescue only prove to be tricks of the mind, often only theirs as yours has given up that hope long ago; a knightly vision on rearing grey dappled stallion is a thing of beauty but holds no benevolence in this jaded pit.

With less things to distract a crumbling ego and forgotten care, you stumble back to the shelter that now only hangs together with wisps of dreams. Darkness is quickly drawing you in, the light of a life clouded in mouldering billowing fungi and the threats of rumbled horror.

The hiss of the foam creeping ever closer makes you draw up the rough sackcloth and you croak back a cough from the dust of ashes now long cold, night could take you now and no-one would know, would they even care?

Beside you an email pinged into its inbox but just from the subject line you know it wasn’t from him; that boat has sailed and deep down you know there would be no others cruising onto your horizon anytime soon.

Dark Island

Another stumble in life

Having an elderly parent there is always a degree of fear lurking at the back of your mind, this is one more.


The darkening skies from the ever-present shadow of death drew the horizon a little closer on this particular day. As if she knew it was coming, an increasingly vacant stare out to that encroaching gloom was beginning to cause some concern to both care staff and visiting family alike.

Through years of a naturally failing health, a certain amount had to be chalked up to human frailty in form and frame but at approaching 90 years of age, more and more was being accepted as just inevitable. The recurring factor was the distancing of response, no questions, no general chat just functional answers to repetitive enquiries each more difficult to pose under the circumstances.

It had all been seen before and to some extent was just part of it, life, another set of pills and signs of improvement would hopefully encourage a lift from the malaise that was more difficult to watch then endure; that was my ardent hope anyway.

The late-night telephone call to say that the paramedics were making their assessment pushed things over the edge, falling from mild concern to the unthinkable consequence; that day would come all too soon, it didn’t need heralding.

The guilt of no meaningful transport quashed all possibility of sleep but the drone of a voiceless television at lease created some distraction from the unknown possibilities. The phone just sat there bursting with silence, waiting for you to look away before it dealt its flavoured news and blind gamble; would it be sweet or sour. You hoped for the sweet but in some quiet corner you could accept the sour.

Tasteless moist toast that grated in a tired throat was coughed down as the harsh ringing was perfectly ill-timed.

Another water infection only extending up to the kidneys this time would no-doubt mean weeks of hospital visits to a mind that was in some other dimension for the duration until the medical marvels worked their magic and once more life was preserved forcing the shadow to retreat once more towards the horizon, only not as far this time to continue its watch over a known but unacknowledged future; who could say if was right or even fair.

 DarkAngel