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The Empathy Poems project is designed to raise awareness about the plight of asylum seekers and refugees.

Your Country

The unknown of field and coppice
Of unruly and murky terrains, 
Of ordered rows and scurvy
Now streaming in our veins. 
Strong fear of grey-blue distance, 
Brown streams and expansive dull skies
I know, but cannot share it, 
My love is otherwise. 

I know not your sunburnt country, 
Your land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 
Deafening are her far horizons, 
Stranding is her jewel-sea, 
Her desolation and her terror
I long for distant lands, they are for me! 

The stark white faces of mortality, 
All tragic to the moon, 
The grey and foggy mountains, 
The hot relentlessness of noon, 
And entanglement of bushes
Where pseudonaja textilis coil, 
And thorns deck the tree-tops, 
And our blood warms the dark soil. 

Core of a heart, whose country?
Her pitiless orange deserts, 
When, homesick arises around us,
We are herded as cattle to die- 
But then the grey hazes gather, 
And we can dress again
The pounding of an army, 
The steady soaking pain.

Core of a heart, your country! 
Land of the steel fence, 
Despite flood and fire and famine
They pay us back threefold. 
Over the bodies of hungry children, 
Watch, after many days, 
The filmy veil of denial
That thickens as we gaze ... 

A close-hearted country, 
A wilful, evicting land
All you who have not left her, 
You will not understand. 
Though Earth holds many splendours, 
Wherever I may die, 
I could never know to what country
My homing thoughts will fly. 


The Art of Disappearing

Ten Scared People