World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

Who would choose
to leave their home—
the place they live
with those they love?

Who would choose
to leave their beds,
their alters,
their ancestors’ graves?

Who would choose
to leave their lives?

No one.

Only a man running
from a gun,
only a woman running
from starvation,
only a child in the arms
of the running

leaves their world.

And how will we receive
those who survive,
those who arrive
at our door?

Will we pretend
they are strangers,
as humans?

Or will we see
our cousins
as cousins?

Will we allow ourselves
to see the pain
in their faces?

Will we allow ourselves
to feel the pain
they feel?

Will we dare to say
come in,
share my shelter?

Will we dare to give
something of ours
to someone else?


I wrote this this morning in honor of World Refugee Day.


19 replies
  1. carwilc says:

    This is beautiful, Liz. Such big, big, big truth here. And so necessary for these hard, hard days. Thank you!

  2. Tabatha says:

    The current climate is not very compassionate…it’s remarkable when just giving “something of ours/to someone else” is daring. Thanks for bringing us your heartfelt plea for kindness, Liz.

  3. lindabaie says:

    Beautifully poignant, Liz & words that need to be written. My frustration is to see how others do not feel sympathy with the plight of others. It is so curious to me how that can be. Thank you for your poem.

  4. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Beautiful poem. These are the words we need to hear and remember this week and moving forward.

  5. Linda Mitchell says:

    I recognize my cousins, my ancestors….and I write postcards and make phone calls and e-mails…and I weep. Our world is hurting so much these days. Thank you for this poem that bears witness and calls us to find our compassion.

  6. Liz Steinglass says:

    Thank you all for reading my poem and responding to it, for all that you are doing to save our country and our world. It is a painful time. Thankfully we have poetry and community.

  7. Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Hope I’m not too late to appreciate this poem along with everyone else. It’s very similar to one I saw on Twitter this morning (and can’t find now), reminding us that no one leaves their home unless they have really good reasons to do so….

  8. Michelle Kogan says:

    Thanks for your questioning and welcoming poem Liz. I just viewed the photo gallery that Laura linked us to “Where the Children Sleep” We are all responsible for the world’s children.

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