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The Song Of The Refugee
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The Song Of The Refugee

The dream of the refugee

White sea plucks up the furniture
In a boarding house in Kent,
On a tossed and turning iron bed
A sick old man laments.

Old worn hands hold linen sheets
Like the reins of a white backed mare
White haired waves wash the bed ashore
in a seascape made of chairs.

With ailing sight he trawls the sea
One frail old hand in the water
Searching tide-worn memories
For a sight of his mermaid daughter.

The current, swirling, rises up
Wound round the old man's chest
The scream of steam in a boiling sea
Dies choking in his breast.

Tonight the pain is yet the same
Though sixty washed out years
Have seen the washed up father drowned
In the river of his tears.

The night, revolving, calms and stops:
full tide begins to turn.
The shipwrecked waiter waiting
On the beach, and all alone.

Climbing over driftwood spars
From wrecks that came before
staring deep in rock tide pools
For a trace of the Andorra Star

From England into exile
From an old Italian town
A wife, a child and happiness
All lost as the Star went down

Glass bottles on the mantelpiece
Return from sunbaked sand
The beach becomes the room again
The sea restored to land

What were the sails plucked in the wind
That were the billowing clouds
Now clasped within white fingers
white linen for a shroud.

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