I was asked to contribute a poem for Red Cross's Refugee week in June so I'm using NaPoWri Mo to kill two birds with one stone as it were. Written as a performance poem, I hope this one still works on the page.
Keep writin' and recitin'
Story of WonderA wish for a happy ending to every refugee’s story
Read any edition of the Daily Wail
Sorry, Freudian slip, Daily Mail
and you’d be forgiven
for thinking we're livin’
in an overloaded raft,
a sinking craft in a sea
of foreign (shudder) freeloaders (double shudder)
who think they owed a
hand out and free council flat.
The headlines mask
the real question asked
“Did we really win the war
only for an invasion of tax-evasion
seeking Johnny Foreigners”?
They want to return to a different world
a different time, of perfect, summer Cream teas,
an absence of crime
that probably never really was
and all because of those old companions
ignorance and fear,
but the one old world value needed here
is a word out of fashion,
its name; compassion.
So let me tell the story of Wonder
a Zimbabwean man under
the thumb of political masters
he only survived because he ran faster
the day they came to kill.
His only ill, his only crime,
not turning up for a rally one time.
So he fled to England,
like a modern Scarlet Pimpernel,
the beginning of seven years of hell,
separated from wife and two beautiful daughters
not knowing if one day his world, distraught
might collapse with his family in danger
but a good Samaritan reached out to this stranger.
The Red Cross, so much more that medical care
became his friend, his burdened shared.
They listened to his story, helped him fight
and though it took seven years, put the wrong right,
helping a once broken family reunite.
The girls had grown up without him
but we helped him cope.
This is Britain at it’s best
giving the less fortunate hope.
So listen to their voices,
You’ll find they were out of choices
and what would you do
If you’d been in their shoes?
There’s a price paid we daren’t think of
behind every refugee
so kick fear out of here
and say brother, sister,
you’ve got a friend in me.