The refugee heart

Todd Davidson/Illustration Works/Corbis

Before hard faced words and tightened bouquets of spite,

came silence

The child swirled in embryo, unscathed by adult cast of hate

Yet unknowing we inhabit cruelty, like a brand in darkness will

light no way but vengeance, reflecting shadows of lost conscience

against petroglyph walls

stories dissipated in forgetting what is true.

This child who once had temerity and self-worth clad about her, the vestige

of some right to exist, perhaps.

An instinct, as weeds will thrive in exhaust and skinny cats climb insurmountable

to glut on that thrashing impulse, called survival

words now scarred, like badly bandaged souls do not forget the echo

of a tender heart turned wicked, nor that merciless piercing

through skin thought impenetrable, to embrace hot metal

as if it did not catch our very soul on fire.

Once, we all wished for, love, pure and unfettered, blooming as night rose

carrying her scent against warm air, inhaling vetiver magic, aware then, of all things

our cache of hope, restless in the waves, we yield, undulate and count

moon peal across black water, spinning youth into gossamer

too fine to hold us securely.

Those burnt coals raked certain, beneath the old impulse to run

mindful of how we grow, the thirst for something real remains

tantalizingly distant

against the roar of white waves, crashing tirelessly to shore

reducing our ankles frigid with the climb, a vaunted capture

of sea — receding against open hands to places beyond

our feeble reach.

As it grows light, the footsteps of those who walked ahead

finding debris of promises washed to shore, frozen by their spent fuse

and silvery starlight echoing her distant mockery of possessing any


those, who for some reason remain here, despite themselves

hollow in the want for familiar arms to gather them up whole

pressed to a beating heart, the murmur of security bound in

crescent sky.

A reddening brings the dream, she swoops low and achingly,

casting silvered birds from their reverie

that we not succumb to our collective despair

finding the drawers and cupboards of truth ransacked and emptied

by unseen robber

and instead, wait by the edge, long in the rising sear of sun

blackening our backs with shadow

for the sound of her footfall, across the dunes, sunk in splendor.

Her journey long, she made it anyway, even in the worst heat

of midday, when insects burrow against the burn and her mouth

opened in an O for the drink of your love

a beacon on a jutting rock, watching seagulls mock the air

with white foamy lift

wanting only for you to need

in equaled measure.


36 thoughts on “The refugee heart

  1. Yes, Gawd to these lines:

    “instead, wait by the edge, long in the rising sear of sun

    blackening our backs with shadow

    for the sound of her footfall, across the dunes, sunk in splendor.

    Her journey long, she made it anyway, even in the worst heat

    of midday, when insects burrow against the burn and her mouth”

    There’s so much power in your words. I love this!

  2. Oh thank you SO much because you know I haven’t written lately and it means everything to have someone whose work I admire so much think what I have written has some merit. Thank you dearling thank you

  3. This is tremendous. Echoing Tre for my favorite lines — and I also loved “a vaunted capture of sea”… Enchantment like this goes far against “our collective despair”!

  4. Fleeing the freezing cold of disregard
    To lonely beach, or is it desert?
    No matter which, seeking, waiting,
    Hoping against all evidence,
    To encounter another fugitive
    A like-hearted one to sing the song
    Echoing now on reading this,
    To hear the lines:
    “Everybody’s had to fight to be free, you see
    You don’t have to live like a refugee” *

    *from “Refugee”, Tom Petty

  5. You have what would be considered a God-given gift, my dear. This is WOW. Your writing style is WOW. Your poetry is always WOW. You stun me with the viscerality and care within your words, wrapped neatly into wild and evocative imagery. It’s a cosmos of imagery and layered meaning throughout your words. I love what I perceived from this poem: A child that can eventually be corrupted by the cynicism of what can be an adult view-point. The journey to overcome is long, but the child can thrive and make it out to who they want to be. Powerful and inspiring. It leaves me in utter awe.

    In case I didn’t say it, I love your work. This is beautiful writing and art–your words are a painting to analyze and they form vivd imagery within the mind. Your poetry is so descriptive, imaginative, and haunting with topics/themes you are not afraid to cover or speak out about. That’s amazing.

    This is quite the piece and I enjoyed reading it from start to finish. ❤

  6. Dearest Lucy, wow! Thank you! What a lovely response and so appreciated! I am extremely grateful to you! I do try and it really means a lot. I am also really flattered and glad you understood what I was talking about as I wasn’t sure if it was clear enough! So that is very ratifying and I am extremely grateful! You got it so well! Ah my friend thank you xo

  7. Ah we can’t go wrong with a little Tom can we? And I love your poem that goes with that! I hope it’s going in the collection? !!! I think the notion of disregard and the child growing into the adult – is one we can all appreciate and learn from –

  8. It is in the collection. The child growing into the adult just triggered another song memory, the connection may seem odd, but there it is:

  9. So lovely to read you once again, Candice. This is a sorrowful lament to how ‘humanity’ destroys what is, perhaps, our greatest quality – the ability to dream. And what could we achieve if those dreams were allowed to flourish? As ever I appreciate the hint to Nature as being the overseer of what could be if only we could find our way back to a better path.
    Excellent writing.
    Hope you are well.

  10. Dear Chris. I love that you get everything I write and I so appreciate you in a myriad of ways for your inspiring support and faith in what I write. Thank you my friend.

  11. Your work never fails to stir me, Candice, and I enjoy diving through its layers. Hopefully I can get to what you intend, but, even if my reading is ‘off’, I am still moved by your words. My best to you.

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