Refugee Child

My mother bore me

In this detention camp.

This was my cradle

Which was distant from every place.

Here I have faltered into childhood

Wondering what I am.

Slowly, slowly I have learned

That the world is flat,

A very small place

Where the sun casts shadows

Of wires across your face

And clocks are dead

And the sound of keys is their tic tock

And footsteps come and go

Never to stay.

Here I have learned

Slowly, ever so slowly,

That faces can be read

Like tragic books

And their eyes have no other fate

Than anguished looks.

Here hope is a caged and troubled creature

Rattling the bars of existence,

Shaking them but never breaking them

Until in the end

It gives up the ghost of itself

And sinks,

With whimpering resignation,

Into the shifting sands of seclusion.

Here I have discovered,

In the painful ooze of days,

That indifference wears a uniform,

Keeps strict rules of time and place,

Heeds higher authority,

And yet has never to meet it face to face.

Here no one ever hears

The tangled messages of my dreams

Entwined in the unrelenting tumult of my muffled, silent screams.

My mother bore me

In the shadows

Of other people’s contempt.

Yet, from her warmth

I have felt love

Tame the savage beasts of sadness

And in the comfort of her arms

I have felt the peace of what was once an everywhere.

She now is my only wisdom

And, if ever I am free,

I will have learnt through her fatal longing

Never again to wander

Into the dark hostility

Of someone else’s promised land.


May 2005

– Royce Levi


3 thoughts on “Refugee Child

  1. A moving poem. Thank you for sharing it here.

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