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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,

Tick tock.

Laughter often echoing,

Voices moving fast

Food plentiful

Stomach’s empty

People congregating

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,

Slowly, reverently,

Transgressing borders

Danger along the way Bribes to pay.

A destination dawns

To meet a distant land

Where many spoken word

Has promised

A better hand.

The bus arrives at the station

Three days it’s taken.

This mountain beckoning, gesturing,

playing with light,

throwing shade,

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,

‘Hello’ ….

‘Where are you from?’

Says a voice …

Reminding me,

I don’t belong.

After two winters and a spring,

A job is found

Without security or guarantees,

Labouring long

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.

Labels aplenty.

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

Treated fair.

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

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