Wednesday, 27 September 2017


On a notepad somewhere I have scribbled the line:

"In Calais, looking at England's Sky"

They were the words of one of my students, and they were, I thought, going to inspire a poem. They have stayed with me for a number of months. There are a few hesitant ideas to go with them: something about our attempts to draw borders and claim ownership; something about skies scarred by barbed wire fences ...and something about the fact that no-one, really can own the sky.

For whatever reason, it has never come together into any coherent form. There's a good chance it never will.

This week, it may have had another line added to it:

"What happens when England's sky turns black?"

They are my words, my response to hearing from the same student that his case for asylum has been refused and he is likely to end up desperate and destitute.

They are my words from a place of helplessness to do anything about it.

I have the immense privilege of doing a job I love and to work with the most incredible people. I know it is a great blessing to sometimes, even often, feel like I can make a difference, in some small way, to people's lives and to allow them to make a difference to mine.

But it is also a part of reality to learn to manage and live with the fact that sometimes, I can't, actually, do much, or anything at all. Sometimes I think I do it well. Sometimes, I guess,  not so much. But this too is part of the beautiful, challenging life I lead.

Neither line may ever make it in to anything more coherent than this. I still wanted them to see the light of day.

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