Poems on Home, Exile, Journeys, War, and Humanity

1.
Standing at the end of the queue … : Ashraf Fayadh, “What It Means Being a Refugee”

AshrafFayadh_BildmontageCollage: photo of Ashraf Fayadh (image source). The background photo shows migrants and refugees queuing at a camp to register after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near the town of Gevgelija. (image source: AFP/Getty)

 


The plight of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa has focused our attention on the migrant experience. The refugee crisis and the human tragedy unfolding in Syria and other parts of the world is nothing new, but sometimes it’s easy for people to dismiss and ignore what is abstract and only told two-minutes on the news. The following selection of poems brings together poetry written by and about refugees on a broad spectrum of topics: the experience of losing home, losing family and losing an identity in a search for safety. It brings together authors who write from their experience as refugees and others who write as observers, poems that have been recently published on the internet and others that echo voices from the past but which have gained renewed interest with the current refugee crisis.


REFUGEES

“Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. There were 21.3 million of them worldwide at the end of 2015. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as “refugees” with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need sanctuary elsewhere. These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences”. (UNHCR)


About Ashraf Fayadh
Ashraf Fayadh is a Palestinian poet, artist, and curator imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. The son of refugees he was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for his poetry, which accusers claimed to “spread atheism,” among other things. Saudi Arabian officials convicted poet Ashraf Fayadh of apostasy over a book of poems he said were about love. Later his death sentence was repealed following worldwide protests. He was re-sentenced to eight years and 800 lashes. (Source)

The poem
“What it means being a refugee” is part of a longer poem (“The Last in a Line of Refugee Descendents“) from Instructions Within (2008), the book that had been initially used to accuse Fayadh of promoting atheism. The translation was made by Jonathan Wright.

In the first part the narrator talks about what it means standing at the end of a queue: Images rotate in his head: asking for to be given a morsel of bread to survive, thinking about the homeland, about money, a photo and the possibility of an eventual return.

Being a refugee means standing at the end of the queue
to get a fraction of a country.
Standing is something your grandfather did, without knowing the reason.

Poetry is a condensed form of communication. Allusions are not detailed, metaphors not explained, pronouns not identified. That makes poetry appealing. At the beginning of the text clip it seems as if the narrator talks about his private feeling. The use of the pronoun (“something your grandfather did”, pictures … stand in for you until you go back, etc.), however, gives the story a wider meaning. What struck me was the changing context of “fraction”. Hoping to get a fraction of a country turns into hoping to get (back) a fraction of oneself.

The poem in full is here.

One of the first poems that Fayadh wrote when sentenced to prison is “Tense Times”. It explores the grief in his father’s death “of sorrow“ and the isolation of imprisonment. Read it here.

There are many practical ways to support campaigns to free Ashraf Fayadh. If you feel inclined to show your support for Ashraf Fayadh, put your name to a non-partisan petition to urge the Saudi Arabian government to act on behalf of his release. The case of Fayadh is only one example to silence poets. Also serving long sentences in violation of their right to freedom of expression are the writers Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu Al-Khair.

2.
Looking for a New Place to Call Home: Warsan Shire, “
No One Leaves Home, Unless
Home is the Mouth of a Shark”

WarsanShire_FotoGiacomoBrini2010_small

 

Image: Warsan Shire (image by Giacomo Brini, 2010) For more photos see here, here or here.

 

 

Warsan Shire is a young and prolific artist and activist who uses her talents to document narratives of journey and trauma. With the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe her poem “Home” has received a great deal of attention online and in the press. “You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”: These lines offers powerful message in the wake of the widely-publicized photo of 3-year old boy’s Aylan body, washed upon the shores of Turkey. Lines from “Home“ are used in many appeal videos for refugee aid.

About Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire is a London–based writer, poet, editor and teacher, born 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She emigrated to the United Kingdom at the age of one. In 2013 she was named the London’s first Young Poet Laureate. Her debut book, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, was published in 2011 by Flipped Eye. Shire has read from her gripping – and often disturbing – poetry in various artistic venues throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, North America, South Africa and Kenya. Her poems have been republished in various literary publications.

The poem
“Home” is from Shire’s 2011 Flipped Eye pamphlet Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth. (Contents) An article in The Guardian provides some background.

In 2009, the young Nairobi-born, London-raised writer had spent time with a group of young refugees who had fled their troubled homelands including Somalia, Eritrea, Congo and Sudan. The group gave a warm welcome to Shire in their makeshift home at the abandoned Somali Embassy in Rome describing the conditions as cold and cramped. The night before Shire visited, a young Somali had jumped to his death off the roof. The encounter, she says, opened her eyes to the harsh reality of living as an undocumented refugee in Europe: “I wrote the poem for them, for my family and for anyone who has experienced or lived around grief and trauma in that way.”

The poem begins with the often quoted lines:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark

Panic is spreading:

you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you

Memories are coming back:

the boy you went to school with …
is holding a gun bigger than his body

Decisions are being made:

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land

There is the desire to return home:

I want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun

And then again words that might appease the tormented soul:

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Read “Home“ in full here.

Responses
Poetry International wrote: “ … her (Shire’s) poems are rooted in the life of the body, but it is a body strongly connected to the soul and to other people. In “Conversations about home (at the deportation centre)” from Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (2011) Shire comments on the fictional self that – as narrator of her poems – talks to her audiences:

They ask me how did you get here? Can’t you see it on my body? The Libyan desert red with immigrant bodies, the Gulf of Aden bloated, the city of Rome with no jacket. I hope the journey meant more than miles because all of my children are in the water. I thought the sea was safer than the land. I want to make love but my hair smells of war and running and running. I want to lay down, but these countries are like uncles who touch you when you’re young and asleep. Look at all these borders, foaming at the mouth with bodies broken and desperate. I’m the colour of hot sun on my face, my mother’s remains were never buried. I spent days and nights in the stomach of the truck, I did not come out the same. Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body.

Quotes from Shire’s poems have been used to hightlight the plight of refugees, e.g in lauching charities to raise funds for “Save the Children”

3.
Pluck Us From the Water Like Oily Birds: Alemu Tebeje Ayele, “Greetings to the People of Europe!”

AlemuTebeje_BildCollageCollage: Photo of Alemu Tebeje (Image Source), background picture: a detail from “Capsized Lives”, found on Moira Eagle’s Webpage. In contrast to reality photos which are often intrusive, this graphic comes closer to an illustration of the idea Alemu Tebeje focuses on in his poem.

Lacking safe and legal alternatives to leave their country, refugees and migrants from Ethiopia and Somali used the services of smugglers to cross the Gulf of Aden. (MSF, “No choice …” Overloaded boats capsized while crossing. The deadly capsizing of migrant boats in the Mediterranean and the rescue of people caught much media attention. Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, described the pictures of bodies washed up as “haunting”: “Biggest indictment of collective failure,” he wrote on Twitter. “Shame on the world!” Burhan Akman tweeted from Turkey, adding in another post, “I see human but no humanity.”

About Alemu Tebeje
Alemu Tebeje is an Ethiopian journalist, poet and web-campaigner based in London. His poems have been published in the anthologies Forever Spoken and No Serenity Here. (Modern Poetry in Translation)

The poem
“Greetings to the People of Europe!” was originally written in Amharic, then translated into English by Chris Beckett and Alemu Tebeje and published in MPT Magazine 2016 Number 1 – The Great Flight. It challenges the credibility of Christian charity:

Over land and sea, your fathers came to Africa
and unpacked bibles by the thousand,
filling our ancestors with words of love:
if someone slaps your right cheek,
let him slap your left cheek too!

Now, their children’s children, inheriting the words their fathers left behind, are braving the seas in leaky boats:

let salt winds punch our faces and your coast-guards
pluck us from the water like oily birds!

The poem is an appeal to take the traditional values seriously when refugees who had managed to survive the crossing are knocking on Europe’s front door:

hoping against hope that you remember
all the lovely words your fathers preached to ours

Read the text in full here.

Responses
In the end the question remains: Is there a point in hoping against hope?

4.
Finding a Whole Country in a Clenched Hand: Hama Tuma, “Just a Nowbody”

HamaTuma_Fotomontage

 

Collage: Hama Tuma reading “Just a Nobody” and lines from his poem.

 

In his poem Hama Tuma (better: his narrator) meditates on the stories of refugees stranded in the Mediterranian off the Libyan coast and what might happen in the minds – and hearts – of people who rescued their bodies.

About Hama Tuma
Hama Tuma (born 1949) is an Ethiopian political activist, a poet and writer in the Amharic and English languages. Born in Addis Ababa, he studied Law in Addis Ababa University and became an advocate for democracy and justice. This has caused him to be banned by three different Ethiopian governments. Tuma currently lives in Paris.

The poem
“Just a Nobody” was translated by the author and Chris Beckett. It was published in MPT, The Great Flight.

The dead man was no one,
just a man in tattered clothes,
no shoes, …

This dead man had just a coin in his pocket, no id card, no bus ticket, which might have thrown some light on his identity. He was a nobody, dirty and skinny:

a no one, a nobody
who clenched his hand before he died.

And then the rescuers opened his clenched fist:

When they pried open his fingers,
this nobody,
they found a whole country.

Read the text in full here.

Responses
As all poetry, in particular poetry with a political edge, Hama Tuma’s poem leaves open who opens the fingers of the “nobody” and who “found a whole country” and what could possibly follow from this realization.

Hama Tuma’s work is underrated. An early example is his book The Case of the Socialist Witchdoctor and other stories, Heinemann, 1993. (see Contents). In the story “The Case of the Prison-Monger’, he tells the story of an Ethiopian intellectual who describes himself as a prison maniac. Each time he comes out of prison he commits a crime. (Read the story online) For more information on Hama Tuma you might want to go to his Website.

5.
Socially rejected and emotionally isolated: W. A. Auden, “Refugee Blues”

Auden_RefugeeBlues_Bildcollage

 

Collage: The cover of Fuller’s historical selection of Auden’s poetry, the cover of a short film inspired by Auden’s work and lines from Auden’s poem.

Auden’s poem — although written in 1939 and with a direct reference to the situation of Nazi Germany before World War II — has taken a timeless quality due to the commonality of its subject. The poem dramatizes the condition of refugees, especially the indifference and antagonism they face when seeking asylum.

One can assume that Auden had chosen the title (“Refugee Blues”) to link it to the protest and subculture of American Blacks, who had developed this musical form in Southern USA. The rhythm and rhyme scheme of Auden’s poem reflects the musical style. The poem is at its best when set to music and performed.

About W.H. Auden
Auden was born in York in 1907. He wrote ‘Refugee Blues’ in 1939 dramatizing the conditions of Jews in Nazi Germany just before the outbreak of World War II and before what would eventually become known as the Holocaust. Today, the poem has a more contemporary part to play, evidenced by video adaptations in which the text is highlighted by visual references to the contemporary situation of refugees. An example is Stephan Bookas’ and Tristan Dawes’ adaptation, a documentary poem that aims to highlight the conditions of migrants in the ‘Jungle’ near Calais.

The poem
The setting: A narrator, who is later revealed to be a German Jew, has a conversation with a person dear to him (“my dear”), assumingly his wife. He tells her what he experienced during the day and what thoughts these impressions triggered:

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

It was spring and the flowers grew anew on the old yew tree in the village churchyard:

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

He attended a public meeting where the speaker talked about people trying to steal “their daily bread”:

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
“If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”:
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

He saw cats and dogs being loved and cared for:

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

The fish seem to be swimming freely in the water at the harbor and the birds seem to be flying wherever they want in the skies. Their lives are independent of politicians and wars. In a dream the narrator saw a large building:

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

He saw thousands of soldiers marching towards them:

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

The poem has been numerously republished on the Internet. Read it in full here.

Responses
Set to the verses of W.H. Auden’s 1939 poem, “Refugee Blues”, directed by Stephan Bookas and Tristan Daws, charts a day in ‘the jungle’, the refugee camp near Calais. “More intimate than what the mass media has shown, this documentary poem counterpoints the harsh reality of clashes with the French riot police with a longing for a better future.” (Cover of the Dutch film)

Auden showed what it feels like to be made homeless and an outcast. The aim of the documentary poem was not necessarily to show parallels with the Jewish situation in the late 1930s, but to demonstrate a similar feeling of abandonment within contemporary refugee communities, here the migrant in “The Jungle” (Christopher Sharp) “The majority of the migrants in the Jungle, much like the Jews, feel as if they have been left isolated by the greater global community — which in a sense they have. Escaping from conflicts in the Middle East all they want is safety in a nation such as Britain or France, a place which they can call home. However, their situation is getting increasingly worse. The documentary shows several stand-offs with the local riot police while footage from inside the Jungle shacks reveals the medieval conditions that migrants are suffering in.” (ibd.)

6.
A Message to the EU: Hassam Blasim, “A Paradise That is Europe”

HassamBlasim_Photomontage

Collage: photo of Hassam Blasim (image source), a handwritten notice which Shamshaid Jutt, a refugee from Pakistan, jotted down while in detention (image source) and lines from Blasim’s poem “A Paradise that is Europe”.

The poem is based on experiences Hassam Blasim made during a 3 year journey as illegal refugee through Europe.

About Hassam Blasim
Hassam Blasim is an Iraqi-born film director and writer who lives in Finland. Born in 1973 he grew up in a Shiite Muslim household in Kirkuk and Baghdad with nine siblings, an illiterate mother, and a father in the military, who died of a stroke when Blasim was sixteen. (Jessica Holland) He studied at Baghdad’s Academy of Cinematic Arts, winning awards for his short films what attracted the attention of Saddam Hussein’s secret police. In 1998 he left Baghdad for Sulaymaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan), where he continued to make films, including the feature-length drama Wounded Camera under the pseudonym ‘Ouazad Osman’, fearing for his family back in Baghdad (Holland). In 1999 he left Iraq, illegally crossed the border into Iran and from there began a three-and-a-half year clandestine journey across Turkey and Bulgaria, ending up in Finland’s third-largest city Tampere in 2004. (See also an interview with Hassan Blasim)

The Poem
In an interview with Guernica Blasim describes how his experiences as an undocumented immigrant affected him:

The trail of “secret migration” was a shock to me. I knew a little about the difficulties, just bits of news in the media. “Secret migration” across borders is a form of human degradation and evidence of the depravity of the human conscience. I’ll tell you a short personal story. We were walking across the Turkish-Bulgarian border. We were a group of Iraqis and Nigerians. There was a fat young Nigerian woman with us and she found it hard to walk. Our smuggler, an Iraqi, suggested we take turns carrying her. Between us we carried the woman through a cold rainy night in the mud of the woods and fields. The Bulgarian army caught us at the barbed wire and beat us up. Then they took us to their military unit on the border. The soldiers raped the Nigerian woman in the room next door. We could hear her voice and we cried in silence. We had carried the woman through a cold, wild night so that the army of the modern world could rape her. (Jessica Holland)

“A refugee in the paradise that is Europe” is translated by Jonathan Wright. Knowing Hassam Blasim’s personal history the poem reads as a cynical comment. The opening lines:

You escape death.
They hit you on the border.
They insult you in the racist newspapers.

Some quotes from the poem worth considering:

They put you in their museums and applaud. …
They weep crocodile tears over your pain. …
They strip away your humanity in debates that are clever and sharp as knives. …
Green activists put up pictures of you in the street. …
They expect to come across their own humanity through your tragedy. —

The final lines

The present engulfs you.
You produce children and grow old.
You die.

Read the poem in full here or here.

Responses
As a reader who is from a country that finds it difficult – for whatever reasons – to cope with the so-called refugee crisis, you might protest against the allegations brought forward in a sober matter-of-fact style. A well known aphorism, going back to the British poet Percy Byssche Shelley, wants it that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” (In Defense of Poetry). As acknowledged legislators they would have a hard time. Notwithstanding it feels good to have an open ear for these challenges — despite all reservations. What point(s) can be made from Hassam Blasim’s poem? One point is without question: If you don’t want mafias, open the borders.

7.
The Gaunt, yet Rapacious Creature: Elaine M. Mullen, “War

EMMullen_photomontage

Collage: photo of Elaine M. Mullen (image source), the cover of the poetry collection (where “War” was published) and lines from her poem.

Elaine M. Mullen’s “War“ is not necessarily the poem you would expect in a showcase of war poetry. Mullen is not a war poet. A war poet is usually defined as a poet who participated in a war and writes about his experiences. War poems are expected to be remembrance poems, describing the terror of the combat zones and the futility of war.

About Elaine M. Mullen
On Google, Twitter, Scriggler.com and other writing platforms, Elaine M. Mullen is better known as the GreenOgress. (see her latest tweets @GreenOgress). Elaine M. Mullen published various books, e.g. The GreenOgress: Unleashed Xlibris US (2016)

The poem
The poem is from Parnassus – A Collection of Unusual Poetry. The narrator looks at war as a quasi mythological creature, a “gaunt, yet rapacious” creature, an “odious god“, domineering, but not indomitable. When pressed with hunger, it develops an insatiable fury:

The gaunt yet rapacious creature with an insatiable appetite
Forever hungry

This beast, this “machine/Which keeps churning out a mounting tally /Of dead” seems to be only appeased by ever new offerings: More victims will have to be offered up to the odious god of hatred and dissent. Who decides and who are the victims? Here the lines from the poem:

Older men talking
Calculating
Younger men dying

The vassals of this “odious god” are: “(r)ace, real estate, religion, sectarianism or supremacy“. However:

Freedom has managed to escape this world
Under the barbed wire and scrutiny of those who weren’t looking

The narrator remembers a quote from George Santayana : “Those who do not remember the past are destined to relive it”, but:

Mankind has a short memory
Develops a tolerance for intolerance
History repeats itself: over and over

The major enemy is fanatism:

The repugnant residue of our fanaticism
Will continue to tear at this world
Until there is nothing left.

Read full text at Scriggler.com.

Responses
Gaunt, but grim! What Mullen’s narrator gets us meditating about is the urgency of taking action, encapsulated in the image of the “history book/ that no one will be left to study.“

8.
T
he World Can Be Looked At Another Way: Brian Bilston, “Refugees”

BrianBilston_Bildcollage

Collage: Name and photo of “Brian Bilston” are pseudonyms. (photo source) The photo, the author uses is deliberately conservative. The background image is a detail from Brian Bilston’s web site: “Poetry Laboetry | From Ideation to Poemification” (Image source)

In this startling poem, Brian Bilston makes his readers to re-think their prejudice against refugees who are fleeing conflict and persecution. Using a similar structure as Jonathan Reed’s “The Lost Generation” or Julia Copus’ “The Back Seat of My Mother’s Car”, Bilston’s “Refugees” creates two different readings from the same set of lines — while making a powerful point about some of the angry rhetoric that shadows the refugee crisis. (Sam Haysom)

About Brian Bilston
Some of the hype around Bilston concerns the anonymity he cultivates online. An Englishman living in Oxford, he uses the alias Brian Bilston to keep his identity secret, for the time being at least. As Sarah Gilmartin wrote, “(i)t’s just that he prefers to remain in the background.(Gilmartin)

The poem
During the last 10 years, refugees and asylum seekers have been demonised as scroungers, malingerers, people stealing “our” jobs. Read from top to bottom the poem suggests the most dire right wing propaganda:

Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves

They are not
Welcome here

The usual incriminations:

They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries

Follow well-known proposals from the right-wing camp:

Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out

… and an appeal to an antiquated political consciousness

A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way.

Read the whole poem here.

Responses
What general point can be drawn from this brilliant idea? Brian Bilston on Twitter: “If this poem seems right to you from top to bottom, it might be time to see things a different way.” When Bilston shared “Refugees” on Twitter the poem was retweeted over 8,000 times in a short period of time. The author, known to his fans as the “Poet Laureate of Twitter”, won much praise on social media. (Allegretti) “Brian Bilston is a laureate for our fractured times, a wordsmith who cares deeply about the impact his language makes as it dances before our eyes” (Ian McMillan.) A commentator by the name of Pat wrote on June 22, 2016:

A colleague read your poem to some autistic young people we work with, when he read it top to bottom one of the kids kept shouting I bet Donald Trump wrote it ! Due to present events I could understand why he would think that. On reading it bottom to top he got quite emotional and said ‘nah he’s not that smart ‘.

If you want to read more poems by Brian Bilston visit him on Facebook. Brian Bilston’s first collection of poetry – You Caught the Last Bus Home – will be published with Unbound.

9.
Sometimes it only takes a day … : Benjamin Zephaniah, “We Refugees”

BenjaminZephaniah_Bildmontage

Collage: A photo from Zephaniah’s Twitter Account (Image source) and a line from his poem.

 

Benjamin Zephaniah is most well-known for his performance poetry with a political edge. “We Refugees”, although written before the current European refugee crisis, approaches the topic of refugees from a perspective that sees migration as a world-wide phenomenon tht is not restricted to asylum seekers, although this topic is central in his poem.

About Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Zephaniah (born 1958) is a British-Jamaican writer, dub poet and Rastafari. Zephaniah was born and raised in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, which he called the “Jamaican capital of Europe”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Zephaniah He is the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. (Wikipedia) He writes that his poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls “street politics”. Zephaniah was included in “The Times list of Britain’s top 50 post-war writers” in 2008.

The poem
“We Refugees“ is from the 2000 Wicked World collection.

The poem has a first person narrator:

I come from a musical place
Where they shoot me for my song
And my brother has been tortured
By my brother in my land.

There are references to “a sunny, sandy place” “where girls cannot go to school” and “even young boys must grow beards”:

I come from a beautiful place
Where girls cannot go to school
There you are told what to believe
And even young boys must grow beards.

The reasons for displacement are multiple:

We can all be refugees
Nobody is safe,
All it takes is a mad leader
Or no rain to bring forth food,

The end of the poem shows how the narrator is viewed by others

I am told I have no country now
I am told I am a lie
I am told that modern history books
May forget my name.

The final lines emphazise his optimism:

Nobody’s here without a struggle,
And why should we live in fear
Of the weather or the troubles?
We all came here from somewhere.

Read the whole poem om Benjamin Zephaniah’s Web site.

Responses
Benjamin Zephaniah is not a refugee in the strict sense, what readers who can connect with his poem might resent. But he is a man of Jamaican descent who lived in the Handsworth district of Birmingham and who knows the refugee community and its stories. You might want to watch a short documentary that was inspired by Zephaniah’s poem.

People are washed ashore. They flee war and politics. They flee from starvation. Some die of suffocation in trucks. We, the peoples of Europe, are not irresponsible that they have to leave their countries. Will we, the peoples of Europe, have sufficient air for them to breathe?

Works Cited

Aldrich. Mark. “800 Lashes for Ashraf Fayadh” The Gad About Town February 2 2016

Allegretti, Aubrey. “Brian Bilston’s ‘Refugee’ Poem Moves Thousands With Brilliant Hidden Message.“ The Huffington Post March 24, 2016.

Bausells, Marta and Maeve Shearlaw. “Poets speak out for refugees: ‘No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark’ Five young London poets who have written about displacement and identity reflect on the refugee experience.” The Guardian 16 Sept. 2015

Davis, Nicola. “The Day the War Came – a poem about unaccompanied child refugees” The Guardian April 28, 2016

Gilmartin, Sarah. “Brian Bilston: the Poet Laureate of Twitter” The Irish Times Apr 6, 2016

Haysom, Sam. “This poem about refugees has a powerful hidden message.” Mashable (Mar 29, 2016)

Holland, Jessica. “Interview with Hassan Blasim.” Guernica May 1, 2014.

Okot Bitek, Juliane. “On the poet Warsan Shire: Nobody’s Little Sister.” Literary Hub April 25, 2016.

Qualey, M. Lynx. “For World Refugee Week: 4 Poems”. Arabic Literature (in English) June 22, 2016.

Richards, Victoria. ”5 practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe.” Independent, 2 Sept 2015.

Sharp, Christopher. “Auden’s Poem Gets To The Heart Of This Refugee Crisis” Shout Out UK. 09/05/2016.

UNHCR. “Viewpoint: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’ – Which is right?”

Article information
Ingrid Kerkhoff. “In the Light of the Current Refugee Crisis:
Poems on Home, Exile, Journeys, War and Humanity.“ The World Speaks English (Juli 2016).
Link to document. http://www.the-world-speaks-english.com/?p=2651

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