Asylum Seeking – Gerard Melia

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2001 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: Anne Beresford

When I step ashore;

I bring my hope in a carrier bag,
My energy, a potential in tired legs.

My fear of tyranny hidden in my haversack,
My desire to please myself stuffed in an empty purse.

My lips speak my father’s prejudice, my mother’s gossip.
memory replays films of childhood in carefree poverty.

I am literate but only in my family’s tongue;
My skilful hands are competent in all languages.

My eyes are blind to the road ahead,
I no longer place my faith in the stars.

Hardened by carrying sadness and distress
my soul is broad, my ambition strong.

I am, in turn, selfish, sometimes lazy
As all men who work hard each day.

You should trust me for no reason that I can think of.
I need to breathe freely and eat at your table.

I am not the bag of contrary winds of Aiolos
I will not drive you weeping from your country!

Copyright © Gerard Melia 2001

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