Kaleidoscope of Hope

Refugee Centre in Przemsyl, Poland.

Poetic reflections on a recent trip to Poland – Ukraine.

Early morning flights. Ours were planned. Others were not so lucky.
The Lion of Poznan. With battle scars on show.
Taking us to mothers and children. Children and mothers. Sent into the unknown.
And men who have no choice, but to stay and wave their arms.

On the road again. Off it too, in more ways than one.
With Trinity at the wheel.
Journeying to a line drawn on a map. By men who dictate things.
Thankful for traveling mercies, and slow tractors.

Yellow and blue. Everywhere yellow and blue. Trooping the colours.
The call to arms. For cakes and buns. Enough to feed an army.
Of God’s people. Churches, that not only pray.
Faith expressing itself in love. Come, stranger! Welcome! Stay!

A roof over my head. A nice one too.
With ways and means. And money and food.
A laptop charger. A phone cable. My favourite baseball cap. Things I leave behind.
Ridiculous in comparison to those in the Centre. Who know loss of a different kind.

400 field beds in an overflow place.
Dog food and cat litter. Sim cards. With gigabytes and minutes.
Men playing Guitars. Kids playing ball. Help in every corner.
And the best use of national flags I’ve ever seen.

Aid trucks and campers and lorries and vans.
Folks who cross a continent because they must. And can.
Indian Chai from a German of Pakistani descent.
Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Jew. Normal service has been resumed.

Breakfast with dozens of policemen. Safe and secure.
Convoys of tanks and military vehicles.
Bringing hope. Or despair. Depending on who you talk to.
My heart breaks for those who are forced to choose.

Brothers and sisters singing songs of hope.
Believing. Hoping that Europe will now see them differently.
That Europe will see them. That Europe will see.
We will. We do. But why did we need a war to open our eyes?

Barry Sloan (Poland/Ukraine border, 25th April 2022)

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