‘And my blanket of leaves won’t warm her cold breast’
Said the tree to the sparrow:
Just as we might say
to the refugee
who washes up on our shores, freezing,
we close our doors, our hearts
and look the other way.
When Merril gave us the word ‘blanket’ to incorporate into tonight’s dVerse Quadrille, I immediately thought of Simon and Garfunkel’s song, ‘Sparrow,’ which although it employs metaphors from the natural world is a near-perfect description of human heartlessness.
We hear so many stories of people dying in their attempt to escape a life of persecution and deprivation to reach ‘the promised land,’ while those who make it are treated as criminals the moment they arrive. They ask for help, we offer a hostile environment.
When not even a blanket can be offered we are truly heartless (or simply exhausted)
Yes, either one could be the case!
Love the ending line! It adds a new dimension to the piece.
Thank you, Jaya: I find it hard to fit everything into 44 words but I tried my best!
It was lovely to hear that song again, Ingrid, and I like where it took you with this poem. Many humans are heartless, closing doors, hearts and and looking the other way, but there are those who work tirelessly to help refugees. If only more people would show kindness.
It is these very people who help me retain my faith in humanity. Perhaps we’re not a lost cause, after all.
Such a thoughtful poem, and so true. The Simon and Garfunkle song is perfect. I haven’t heard it in forever. I used to have the (vinyl) album, and it’s sad that it’s still so relevant.
It is sad, but I love S&G – I find so many of their songs still relevant today.
When I see how our own citizens are treated, it is no surprise that the inhumanity extends to all. There seems to be so little kindness that is expected (considered?) or even allowed from the haves to extend to the have-nots. It’s a carefully constructed inequity. I appreciate your highlighting it today in your poem. Yes, the S&G says it all doesn’t it.
Unfortunately it does. It’s easy to forget that ‘there but for the grace of God’ goes every one of us.
Thanks Ingrid for this powerful piece (and S&G singing). Reminds us not to look away – even when we’re distracted by the pandemic and the fortunes of some old billionaire in the White House.
Yes, even with all these things going on there are still people fighting desperately to survive and find a better life for themselves and their families.
Heartlessness is unfortunately becoming very common nowadays. I fear for the coming generations. This is incredibly deep and poignant 💝
It is, but there is another side to human nature which wants to help out those in need and give unconditional love: I side with that side!
I’m afraid your verse is also very poignant here in Australia, and how the refugee’s are treated here….
I think it’s the same all over the ‘developed’ world…we’re afraid we’ll lose what we have if we share it with others, when I think the exact opposite is true: ‘I can only keep what I have if I give it away.’
Yes, most of them forget they were all originally refugees and immigrants themselves !!
Sadly, it’s getting to the point where, even if you did “”look the other way” you’d just see more of the same. Things CAN change, everywhere. IMAGINE
I live in hope!
Thank you for this.
I think of the heritage of my country (US) as being the hearts, souls, and endeavors of immigrants, while a cold shoulder is turned towards immigrants (many of them refugees) in modern times.
It is the same in the UK, unfortunately: though London was built on immigration and tends to be more receptive to immigrants and tolerant of diversity (I won’t say accepting of strangers because everyone in London is a stranger!)
We have lost our kindness to other people sadly. There are various stories of them – some sad, a few happy endings.
Some kindness still survives and I hope it will be enough to pull us through.
while we close our doors, our hearts
and look the other way
Most distressing to witness such appalling decisions enacted without compassion upon displaced persons who craved for survival. Less frequently reported now but happens all the time. Great to highlight a pick of social injustice, Ingrid.
Thanks for visiting Hank before this, Ma’am!
You’re welcome. I don’t think people who have always lived comfortable lives can imagine the suffering of their fellow human beings. I saw a one-armed man playing football with his son in Spain, and he looked so happy just to be alive and to be with his son. I didn’t ask his story but I often think about it.
Ingrid, A heartbreaking parable of heartlessness — Love your use of parabolic tone to reprove.
Thank you, Dora. I think there is still hope because there are many of us who still want to help. We just have rotten leaders unfortunately!
We are known to accept everyone. No one should have to be turned away and if the country desires people to become citizens before staying here then maybe they should make becoming a citizen a reasonable amount of effort and money.
Powerful piece in 44 words. The world certainly can be a cold place. Nicely done.
Thank you. I hope it will not always be so.
Profound and timely thoughts so very creativelly expressed. Luv luv the video as well.nicely teamed up
Thank you Gillena! Once again I wanted to comment on your poem but couldn’t. I was going to say this: ‘What a world indeed! Thank you for sharing your world. I don’t know if I would miss autumn and winter: I certainly didn’t mind having less of it when we lived in Spain!’
I’m pleased you enjoyed it! I’m a big fan of S&G😊
This was very heartfelt Ingrid and shines a light in the plight of the refugees. I know from living in the US how cold-hearted citizens can be towards those who are risking everything for their families’ safety. Such a simple gesture of sharing a blanket but they cannot find it in them to do it. How very sad we are. Thank you for your poem tonight ☺️
Oh Ingrid this is so sadly true. Strong right
Thank you, Rob. Hopefully kindness will win through in the end!
There are pitifully few who make it as far as UK, and still they turn them back. Poor countries like Greece have tens of thousands of refugees in camps and they can’t feed them, have no jobs for them, and an economy on the brink of bankruptcy. The whole situation is tragic. We have to look at what they are fleeing and help out at the other end, like not fueling the wars that are destroying some of their societies.
I like the idea of a blanket as security. Very powerful!
We have become numb, heartless–there is no other word for it really. Our excuses are endless. And there is no excuse. (K)
Ingrid, I so agree with this well-written poem. We need to do better on immigration here in the US!
<3 Take care! Cheryl