This poem is not from the lectionary readings, it is from the alternative lectionary of real life; from when I went to a political meeting recently and they asked a refugee/journalist to speak about his experiences for us. “My” poem borrows so heavily from his narrative, that I really wrote it not to showcase my own writing but because what he said struck me as so important that I needed to circulate it further. I didn’t catch his name, or even if I ended up noting down one story or two different/similar ones but truth was there.
He’s a survivor,
we might label him an asylum seeker,
He’s a father of two,
a widower (his wife died horridly).
He says “They” so that we will understand
though he’s speaking of his own people:
“They are not looking to steal your job,
they are looking to have a chance.
I am pretty sure [he says]
that they have dreams
[those people left behind in the hellish camp];
dream like anybody else.
“They just want the same things
that anyone who loves their children wants.
[Anyone who loves their children…]
“When we left, we just locked the door behind us
and went to another city,
I’d known something like this would happen,
just a man with his clothes,
a small amount of money, enough to get on a boat
with his children.
“We were three days on that boat
it was very hard [he pauses at his understantement]
But you know?
The hardest thing is knowing
you can do NOTHING
to protect your family.
“The endless water…the detention
[“You will never get out”]
…and now a bridging Visa.
I’m one of the lucky ones.
We’ve been here three years.
“I am still powerless.
I don’t know what will happen to us next.”
Let us find in this man’s story, the Word of God.
Thanks be to God.