I didn't realise the refugee was me

Revelation at Pontins EASTER SUNDAY 2002

I thought I was hurt in my pride only,
Forgetting that,
When you plunge your hand in freezing water,
You feel
A bangle of ice round your wrist
Before the whole hand goes numb

Norman Maccaig  ‘Sounds of the Day’

The past?   It’s a frozen, foreign land.
A labyrinth of tourmaline-a dream
of black horses flowing out to sea.

Breaking the chains of memory
that tie us to the static of the land

The past?  It is a strange and twisted tongue.
I cannot bend these chords to utter it!
Cannot find a rhythm in the rime.

While fools found gold in crystal streams,
 I rooted, ankle deep in mud, braying:
 Who are you? 
Why are you here?

The past?  That coldly calculated joke.
Those idiots fell about the place side-splitted,
While I looked for help,
for meaning,
for a sign.

Not that I didn’t understand.
But that I would never understand.
I seemed to be a stranger there.
Something foreign.
I didn’t know the refugee was me!

The past?  It is shapeless, blind, a mute place.
No road maps or strangers passing with news.
The very idea seems cruel!  This loss.

And is it not cruel, this vile thing
set loose around the houses?  This abuse
of heart-skewering fear.

The nightsounds were lonely in the vale.
The clouds mere smoke-rings of obliterated joy.
Oh these losings of familiar things!

These losings of familiar things.
These tales of the three rings.
And the first...shall be:  Who knows?

I did not realise the refugee was me.



  1. To above-One word- TWAT!!!
    Note to self-Have I actually written a crapulous bleeding heart rubric of a poem that is debasingly cringe-making? Should I take it down. Yes by God! But no...leave it up like a red flag of your complicity with the dark Ego Shadow Self.

  2. You call me a Twat? I think so but may be I have miss understood. I am not offended anyway, one man's twat is another man's hero. I believe you are genuine, in that you believe in the views you express. I am interested though, in how you are a former seminarian, but how you hold such leftist views. You have obviously formed your own opinions, absolutely your right, as an adult man. Are your parents still alive? Do you bear a grudge against them because they packed you off to a 'small Hampshire village?'. I went to that small Hampshire village too, and I have to admit that, though I had some great times there, if I could turn back the clock I wouldn't go there. I have an 18 year old son who has just gone to Salford Uni, there is no way I would have let him go to seminary at 11 years of age. But hindsight and the shifting sands?. I'm going to leave it there for now, but I want to say other things. Later I will, but I have to leave it there for now. paul, widnes.

  3. Hi Paul,
    Your graceful and witty reply indicates that the 'Twat' is clearly my good self. I wholeheartedly apologise for my dorkish language. I'll reply to your other questions in my next posting of all these comments under the heading 'The Readership are Revolting!' That's meant to be gently comic which I now know you will understand. Many thanks, Tony