A beautiful, poignant poem on the unfortunate refugee crisis around our world, inspiring a spirit of compassion & generosity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO BE WARM
A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around, burn your mouth,
A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers or your grandmother’s,
A smile, a touch, trust as you walk in from the snow,
Or return to it the tips of your ears pricked pink, frozen.
The tink tink tink of iron radiators waking in an old house,
To surface from dreams in a bed, burrowed beneath blankets, comforters,
The change of state from cold to warm is all that matters and you think,
Just one more minute snuggled here before you face the chill. Just one.
Places we slept as children – they warm us in the memory,
We travel to an inside from the outside. To orange flames of fireplace,
Or wood burning in the stove. Breath-ice on the inside of windows,
To be scratched off with a finger-nail, melted with a whole hand.
Frost on the ground that stays in the shadows, waiting for us,
Wear a scarf. Wear a coat. Wear a sweater. Wear socks. Wear thick gloves.
An infant as she sleeps between us. A tumble of dogs,
A kindle of cats, kittens. Come inside. You’re safe now.
A kettle boiling at the stove. Your family, friends are there. They smile.
Cocoa, chocolate, tea, coffee, soup or toddy, what you know you need,
A heat exchange, they give it to you, you take the mug,
And start to thaw.
While outside for some of us, the journey began.
As we walked away from our grandparents houses,
Away from the places we knew as children – changes of state and state,
To stumble across a stony desert or brave the deep waters,
While food, friends, home, a bed, even a blanket became just memories.
Sometimes, it only takes a stranger in a dark place,
To hold out a badly-knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say,
We have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season.
We have the right to be here…