I Am Here

They say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, well, I watched, bewildered, our village here in Canada –a nation of immigrants, got few very loud people who hated refugees with passion. That behavior birthed this poem!
I wrote this poem to awaken in people who hate immigrant & refugee, their sense of compassion, their sense of decency and empathy.
I was commissioned by a chamber choir to write a poem about ‘The Refugee Experience’, so I offered this poem which was composed and sang in majestic and angelic choral music by The DaCapo Chamber Choir in Waterloo Ontario, Canada in March 2019.

I am here
—©Lozan Yamolky
(3rd Book of Poetry collection: Dreamers Needed 2019)

You won’t find me in the abandoned towns, the empty schools,

playgrounds, or the collapsed hospitals
of my homeland. 

You won’t find me

at my friends’ houses, on my bicycle

in the park, or in a roofless home

on a dark and frightening night. 

You won’t find me in the market

that is now colourless and empty;

you won’t find me on a prayer mat

at a mosque that now

is a sniper’s enclave. 

You won’t find me on a merciless

rocky mountain path

overflowing with women and children
searching for safety under a brutal

hot sun. 

You won’t find me covering my ears
to drown out the din

of the relentless bombing. 

You won’t find me in cities

blanketed with smoke,

carpeted

with the blood of the innocent

oozing beside a fading horizon 
that begs the sun not to leave

at dusk. 

You won’t hear my name mentioned

in the keening cries

of parents left childless in the mayhem;
nor will you find me buried

along with those

that perished from hunger

and from pain, longing for peace,
and you won’t find me

among the little girls bought

and traded and used
spoils-of- war. 

You won’t find me clinging to dear life

on a flimsy boat crossing the sea
in search of a new place to call home,
and you won’t see my life jacket floating.

You won’t find me drowned in the sea,

washed up on an unforgiving shore
or wrapped in a golden rescue blanket

shivering,

unable to speak or cry. 

You won’t find me in the crowd

fleeing the imminent and terrible end.
You won’t find me fenced-in

behind a gate

from which I cannot escape,

and at the mercy of an army

that cannot understand

the words I speak. 

You won’t find me dousing the flames
of a burning refugee camp in Lesbos. 

You won’t find me picking up

food scraps in Vienna,

and you won’t spot me escaping bulldozers crushing

my makeshift home

on an icy dawn in Calais.   

You won’t find me

where I used to belong

or where I have been lost

on the journey;

I am no longer languishing
in a refugee camp. 

I am not there

because I have been found,
and just like a little tree,
I am planted in new soil.   

I am here 
—I am here now. 

All you must do

is help me grow

because I am the child, 
and this… this is our village.

—©Lozan Yamolky
(3rd Book of Poetry collection: Dreamers Needed 2019)

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