So many people these days find themselves homeless, find themselves in foreign places after fleeing from wars, floods,famine, injustice,persecution and more.

Facing the climate crisis brings the prospect of homelessness very real to many more. War and walls seem to be continually on the agenda throughout the world. I belong to the charity Dove Tales and our next event is on October 4th in Wigtown during the annual Wigtown Book Festival. Our forthcoming anthology Bridges or Walls will be out soon and our readings on 4th October will feature some of the poetry and prose from that publication.

How is it possible to feel that sense of belonging when forced to move to another country? It’s the actions of others that can help to make this possible by making them feel welcome, by inviting them to share meals, living spaces and time.

We have been fortunate in that we moved over the border to Scotland nearly twenty years ago and feel that this is where we belong.  Our daughter moved to New Zealand fourteen years ago and considers that country very much her home. But our moves were entirely voluntary. For those people much less fortunate, we can only begin to understand what it feels like to be uprooted.

The Pianist of Yarmouk

 some called him mad

using music to  fight

he fought with his fingers

fought for humanity

fought for the children

as he played their songs


only salt water to drink

only cats dogs and grass to eat

senseless killing all around

so he played his piano

he played in the streets

the children sang with him


nobody came with food

but he came with music

he came with joy for them

he came with hope for them

Isis came with fire

killed his piano

hunted him

Fortunately this story had a happy ending. He now lives in Germany and is reunited with his wife and son.  This poem was inspired after I had heard him being interviewed on In Tune on Radio 3. It’s possible to read his inspiring and moving story on the web.