05 July 2018

Tent Cities of Refugees

From the New York Times  5 July 2018: 
Photo by 
Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

How can I comprehend the rows of tents
in deserts captured in press photos?  These
are not from a week at the races or a week 
at a music festival, tents under the trees,
carefully prepared sanitary facilities and
running water and refrigerator storage.

This can’t be that kind of fun—a relief
to arrive and relief to go home again.
You can’t go home again and live, so 
you adapt to the smells and tastes and
tight breathing and sounds and silence
where words offer crude and cruel hope.

This is not a zoo with carefully selected
animals—those who are carnivores separated
from their prey, those who bully and rape
separated, and audiences thrilled at the birth
of each new baby in this cat’s cradle of
no escape and no change of clothes.

I remind myself each time I see the films
for a minute or two.  Right then I imagine
myself there, exposed and fragile as a dandelion,
without the protection of a lower crustacean,
without a marsupial  pouch to protect the young—
not mine—just all the little students who
hunger to learn when they are not too hungry.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Poem and photo took me there. Thanks for reminding me that there are refugee camps everywhere. Focused on the children on the border, it is good to remember the women and children displaced and waiting in other places.

kaykuala said...

This can’t be that kind of fun—a relief
to arrive and relief to go home again.

A sad current day happening for those homeless on the move. Devoid of permanency in abode and aspirations. A tragedy allowed to fester its affliction in many parts of the world each arising from different reasons.Good for bringing it up, Susan!


Therisa's World said...

Sadly, Susan, the news cycle has moved on from these poor victims of a war that they didn't start or want. For most of these people, the only end will by death, cause so many possible variations to list all. By sharing this poem, a child or two may be saved and given the chance to help others.