QUOTAS / LYDIA TOWSEY / #WhosYourNeighbour?
In response to the UN refugee agency’s recent suggestion that Britain will take a further 4,000 Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East.
If you’d like to get involved, please tweet us @3HardWayPoets along with the hashtag #WhosYourNeighbour – with a link to a responding work as text and/or as a recorded reading. For full details on the campaign see here.
If it is to be four thousand of the most deserving,
four thousand of the most deserving
of the four million currently displaced;
a thousand in a million
of the four million currently camping
in Jordan and in Lebanon –
so, one in a thousand;
one in a thousand
of the four million Syrians –
though not the Afghans or Iraqis
and not the Africans, none of them.
If it’s to be these and only them;
these most deserving of the all deserving
filling up the camps – though not the ones
drowning in the sea or suffocating in the trucks;
not the ones crushed on the railroads;
not those babies carried through the night
or held at the stations, dehydrated, close to death.
If just these few – how shall we pick?
Will it be this woman who has lost her home?
Or this man who has lost his legs?
This child orphaned and frightened?
Or this elder, sightless and bent?
If we are to choose,
and make of our fences
a new and sturdy pearly gate,
who shall stand watch
at our new beginning?
Who will be Peter
manning a cannon?
Who will record
the ones not taken?
The children washed up
on the beaches
Who will record them
Who will save us
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