Classroom study

They read a poem about a girl

who is forced to leave a war-torn

country, a home swarming with tanks and sunlight.

The teacher asks them what they know about refugees;

what it means to be displaced.

They are shown a picture of a child

washed up on the shore;

the picture which made us cry as we settled in our seats

for an evening meal the year before.


The sadness that it has taken the lives

of children for us to listen, settles;

because the adult lives should have been enough;

and the teacher wonders if the students are still listening,

because as they try to explain

how too many meet watery graves

as the world profits from pain,

one student is quietly crying,

but one is tapping their pen

and another is rocking on their chair,

eyes turned to stare out of the window.


What must we do, to teach them to listen

when a child washed up, face down in the sand,

is still not enough –

for us to stop looking through the transparent glass,

finding safety on the other side

whilst pretending our ears and eyes 

are open. 


What must happen 

for us to say enough

and mean it.


Poem: © Kristiana Reed 2020

My poetry collections:

Flowers on the Wall UK

Flowers on the Wall US

Between the Trees UK

Between the Trees US

5 thoughts on “Classroom study

  1. Andrada Costoiu says:

    Kristiana , this is beautiful and heartbreaking… for my academic work I went a few years ago to a refugee camp to take interviews with Syrian people. For me , it was heartbreaking to listen to their stories, but they ….they lived these 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jonicaggiano says:

    This is a beautiful piece about humanity. I love this poem because it is so true. What will it take? Great question. Lovely writing as usual. You took on a difficult but very important humanitarian issue and made it strong and still beautifully written. Love and hugs my friend, Joni❤️💕🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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