A poem recognising Migration and Refugees in Africa
Lakes, rivers, waterfalls,
The land abundant and green
Nature spacious and proud
Faith settled and true
Traditions like the clock,
Laughter often echoing,
Voices moving fast
Life all around
Work not to be found.
Leaving the family, it’s time for goodbye,
Heavy heart, gesturing words from my mouth
I need to migrate south.
Travel far and wide,
Danger along the way Bribes to pay.
A destination dawns
To meet a distant land
Where many spoken word
A better hand.
The bus arrives at the station
Three days it’s taken.
This mountain beckoning, gesturing,
playing with light,
I’m filled with hope and determination.
This land is sometimes dry
The lights flicker
The wind is angry and shouts
Faces unfamiliar and cold
The townships not like a village
Criminals sit close by
Who is friend, who is foe,
‘Where are you from?’
Says a voice …
I don’t belong.
After two winters and a spring,
A job is found
Without security or guarantees,
Smiling with gentle gratitude
Fitting it with this new land
Waking with the sunrise
Grateful to be sending money home
Sleeping long after dark, eyes closing softly,
Sometimes a tear before sleep
Seeing home, dreaming of the day
I return to my Rome.
An illness arrived, without invitation,
the borders closed.
Many jobs lost,
Fear and panic.
No money to send home,
The government offers money for some
I’m not from here, so this does not come.
Hungry, scared and fearful for the future,
How will I live and provide?
This virus an abuser.
The voices intermingled and angry,
The narrative distinctive and flatly
Deny, refuse and blame.
Political parties argue,
Tribes are angry.
Black, white, grey, parameters blurred
Women and Men violence concurred.
The days are spent wondering
What is right, what is wrong?
Should I have travelled here as planned.
Could I have lived off my land?
How will I find the truth,
Will the world while talking of healing,
Remember how many are kneeling
While close to the near winter damp earth,
Sitting through storms that scream like giving birth,
Each human on this planet,
Deserves to feel a sense of purpose, hope
With feet firmly on the granite.
Many first world voices say self-love,
The universe must heal and shed skins
Does this mean in your country?
Or do you see the collective?
That the chain and link needs to unbroken,
How a pandemic in one land,
becomes a neighbour’s poison
sinking in the sand.
If we can’t work together,
Sharing opportunity and growth,
The scales will tip and the axis of earth
Until, the Gods decide another plague
Will bring everyone to a level playing field,
Not to be judged at The Hague.
We are all in the same boat,
Not migrants on open waters,
Fearful and scared.
In life, here and now,
Every single soul, ideals and needs,
Hopefully will be replaced
By the buffet of entitlement and greed.
That expenses show your worth,
While somewhere on earth,
a person lies unaided, no future,
while giving birth.
Each baby that is born must be
Not too much nor thrown in a lair,
we all breathe the same air.
Let us share and bind,
Within this universe,
let’s be kind.
We will defeat this scourge of the earth
the moon will continue to shine and hide
Please don’t see me as a threat.
I am part of this place too.
I’m from the same blood and sweat.
Art by Jacob Lawrence: Migration Series
Born 1917. Died 2000
African American painter