I was carried from the boat carefully.
Inside the ambulance, gentle hands tended.
I thought them angels come to save me.
The hospital was a shiny white cavern,
filled with knowing hands, soft voices.
My scars are healing well.
Medication has been lessened.
Nightmares of torture rooms
are loosening their claws’ grab on me.
My mind is slowly healing.
I allow sleep to stroke my forehead now,
swallow down the knuckle of fear lodged in my throat.
My husband found a job, eventually.
Minimum wage they call it.
He will do anything, work all hours.
Soon I was well enough to join him.
We live in a place that is not home but a gift.
A shared house, with friends who ran two years ago.
Braved sea, a fear-filled journey, soul-torn loss
of those who fill their hearts.
They knew what we had suffered.
When I was well I worked part time.
Got our boy into school.
We all learn English at night from our neighbour.
a kindly man who wishes us well.
We wrap our tongues round unfamiliar syllables.
Work hard for citizenship. Struggle.
Hate the cold, damp, differences of culture
but we stick with it.
Ignore comments about our skin, our faith.
These are but beads in a handful of coins.
Worthless amongst the wealth of kindness
we have been gifted.
Now we have home, friends, neighbours.
Some are migrants too. Some are not
but they see how we work,
keep our children clean and in school.
We have settled.
Each night we pray, hold hands.
Thank God, for a new life, family,
our freedom.

Miki Byrne

displacement open call poets corner

Miki has written three poetry collections, had work included in over 170 poetry magazines and anthologies and won a few poetry competitions. She has read on both Radio and TV and  judged poetry competitions.She is active on the spoken word scene in Cheltenham and is a member of a number of poetry groups. She began performing her poems in a bikers club in Birmingham. Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire.UK.




  1. Leaveners says:

    Visitor P Cafe Stirchley: ‘Shows the dignity of people and an interesting contrast between light and dark…the subjective voice made it particularly moving’


  2. Leaveners says:

    Visitor P Cafe Stirchley: ‘A moving poem showing the difficulties of losing everything and then meeting people of care and compassion’


  3. Jan Harris says:

    (the Mediterranean passage)
    after Seamus Heaney

    My palms make a boat where a poem sways:
    Dan Taggart, who drowns kittens –
    it’s better for them, he says
    to the scared boy allowed to watch.

    My arms ache with their weight
    and the weight of refugees
    lost in Mare Nostrum, Our Sea,
    while I watch the evening news.

    Waves lap in the hull of my hands,
    words wash from the page, resurface.
    The scared boy, drowned by life,
    now shrugs at death, the poem says.

    Perhaps those nameless men, who load
    their leaky boats with fear, shrug too,
    their eyes closed tight in the haul
    and hell and heave of life.

    I hear the scrape of kittens’ claws
    and scoop one out, a glossy Tom, quick
    as a poet’s words, a ship’s cat,
    sleek, with knowing eyes. Alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. atrmws says:

    Maker Milked
    by atrmws

    From Syria
    Come in coracles, black the sea
    And with their children in tears

    No one will want
    Life characterised by weary
    The chipping-away of war

    These cowls of lives
    Lifted, see light upon the face
    ‎Better the white, Greek beaches

    ‎Than also-ran
    And the dark tars and scars, afar
    ‎Some decide that God is dead

    The Maker milked
    Too ill to be the wick in lit
    Candles in those ‎hopeless homes

    Liked by 2 people

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