Displacement, poetry on hope and humanity, by arts charity Leaveners

Looking Back – Curator’s Pick

During the month of May 2016 we will be looking back at Poets’ Corner’s first year, together with our Guest Poetry Curators. They will share their own poetry, experiences as curator and favourite poems from the platform with you.

Guest Poetry Curator Pete Stones chooses ‘New Boy in Class, 1943′ by Bob Ward as his favourite poem from the Poetry for Change collection ‘Displacement: Stories of Hope and Humanity’. Pete writes:

‘Whilst we received numerous wonderful pieces on the theme of Displacement from those who have suffered the many and serious anguishes and traumas it causes, Bob’s poem speaks from a unique and often unheard perspective: that of the observer. Bob’s poem calls forward those who observe the displaced, raising questions of integration, understanding, and compassion all through the eyes of childhood.’

New Boy in Class, 1943

We’d been tipped off not
to lean too hard on him,
a boy smaller than most,
paler than a chicken bone
boiled beyond hope of soup.
I recall his attenuated
fingers, the shoulders curling
over perpetual queries
though lifted by a smile
his elder brother, the solitaire,
could hardly ever match.
He was coaxed to the front
to tell how life turned out
against them in a foreign place
where, cornered by teachers,
he wore a dunce-cap lettered ‘J’.
I found it all confusing;
his prematurely adult mind
outstripped the rest of us.

By Bob Ward

Read more poetry on ‘Displacement: Stories of Hope and Humanity’ here.