Category: News

Refugee Week and Poetry (by )

I found this podcast which explores the refugee crisis etc... through poetry and musical expression. It contains an amazingly beautiful and sad Wade in the Water which has been cleverly adapted. For those of you who don't know the history of Wade in the Wader it was part of the Slave/Freedom Train in the US before the full abolition of slavery (and in some cases even after it). It was a sung code as were a few other songs.

This is something else that has been breaking my heart over the last few years - when we were trying to adopt (on hold now due to head injury) I felt I was doing something to help because we'd been told that refugee kids were the largest group and I don't care where a child comes from a child is a child and I just want to keep as many safe as possible weather from here or abroad. But obviously that didn't happen and now I sit in my house with spare rooms... and all any one tells me is that it would have been dangerous for my kids :/

I wonder if the households that took in the evacuees and the jewish kids in the second world war had the same sort of issues?

A few years ago Neil Gaiman made this video whilst visiting a refugee camp and highlighted the efforts that are being made and also the plight. He like many in the UK is descended in one branch of his family from refugees - pretty much anyone is going to find foriegn links if they actually bother to look and investigate and just ask. Many families have tended to keep that sort of ancestory secret but not all.

You can read his write up about here on the UN Refugee Agency website.

Currently I am putting together some more political poetry pamphlets/zines just my poetry at the moment - within which I have a few poems about refugees. This one is called The Journey and shamefully I can not even remember which group or news report it is about because there have been so many - so many little bodies and big bodies and just people - washed up along the shores - lives gone and wasted.

A Journey

The journey was across the water
And was flimsy with grief
The crowds swarmed
Desperation palatable
In the tang of stale sweat

Grey waters ebbed to black
Hiding those who could not make it
Or were Unwanted
Thrown to the cold placid stillness
Breath gone

Bodies bloated and rotting
Effluent choked to the fish
So they could no longer
Nibble the corpses
And still the people came
Fleeing, frightened
Seeking sanctuary
That so many of them
Would never reach
The waters filmed with grief


Years ago now I remember sitting in the Wilson Museum and Art Gallery at an event where the guest poet was a refugee - I wish I could remember the mans name - he was seeking asylum at the time - in many places poetry is outlawed, poets especially political poets are actually risking their lives for something that gets seen as "a bit prissy" in this country.

I think that for next year I will try and get the Gloucester Poetry Society to organise an event.

For more information on Refugee Week go here.

More Death :'( (by )

Last night I awoke crying - my brain had only just worked out why the trainlines we wanted weren't working - it had been a long day getting from Essex through London and out to Gloucester with the final walk home. I should have realised as I was there on Wednesday and knew those lines were shut then but... head injury - Jean was having to read signs and things for me in the end.

Also I know too many firefighters, nurses and police, I know too many people in council flats/housing, I over heard conversations I wish I hadn't on Wednesday - I can't bring the dead back - life is so easily snuffed out - we are so vulnerable. Horrible accidents, natural disasters and disease... you'd think we'd all huddle together against the nightmares.

The fire would have claimed more lives if it hadn't been for Ramadan, if the diversity of the city was less more people would have died. People were up observing their religion and so spotted the danger and warned others.

But still I awake to the sicken news that a van has ploughed into people outside a Mosque, more senseless death, more retribution agains the many for the actions of the few. More people killing people when we are all on the edge of annhilation anyway.

There are horrors happening all around the world - so much of it and we only hear a fraction... often I can not cope with it all - all the pain and hurt and grieving - the utter utter waste of life, of mind. And this time it is my home. London.

Grief is out pouring in the Capital - that is what the "riots" are, people feel powerless and they are angry and rightly so.

And then this... this attack on people going to pray.

I feel sick.

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