The Border Line (World Refugee Day)

The Border Line (World Refugee Day)

The problem is with the seeing.

If you never see their pain

You’d never feel it

Wrap around your heart,

Quickening it’s beat.

Squeezing you to act.

The problem is with the hearing.

If you never hear the 

sounds of deep despair 

you’ll never know it,

deep within your heart. 

Teaching you to care.

Stay here. Don’t go. 

Don’t go to the border line.

The line between us and them.

The wall around the wealth 

that we’ve earned ourselves 

the privilege we worked hard for

for us and us alone.

This entitlement we collect,

by not being them.

Stay here. Don’t go.

Don’t go to the hard, dark place

where nothing at all makes sense

and humans traipse the earth

to find somewhere 

they can be human

after all,

After all the dust has settled

on the war zone

they once called home.

Don’t go. 

Don’t go to the border line,

the impregnable line 

between us and them.

Don’t go where Jesus is 

What does He know?

He’s one of them.

Don’t go. Stay. Hush. 

Don’t make a fuss.

It’s all okay. Here.

While they stay. There.

On the other side 

of the border line.

Look away. Don’t see.

Don’t look them in the eyes

you’ll just encourage them

to come, 

it will make them 

think you care.

Don’t stare.

Don’t let them think there’s hope 

that you are human

just like them.

Look away. Don’t see.

It’s all so clear.

Here. Inside our walls

in our arms-length 

armchair world

distanced from the struggle

free of those people 

free of their troubles

free to change the channel.

Don’t look. Don’t see. 

Out of sight out of mind.

Don’t feel the suffering of human beings.

Close your eyes tight. Tighter.

Don’t see past their skin, 

Don’t see them as human.

Call them strangers, 

call them strange 

and estrange your heart

from them.

Look away. Don’t see

Don’t see their human faces, 

the depths within their eyes,

Don’t feel their tears 

drop on your skin

burning into layers, 

leading to your heart.

Don’t listen to it beat

like a human being

Block it out. Shut it down. Sleep. 

For if you wake, you’ll never sleep again.

Stay away. Far.

Look away. Fast.

Avoid their eyes

Don’t gaze too long. 

Don’t walk along

the dusty pain-ridden roads

they walk,

as though the feet 

of Jesus trod that way.

He had no standards anyway.

Ignore them. Ignore Him.

Look away. Stay away. 

Walk away. Far away.

Don’t go to the border line

the line dividing us and them

Don’t walk that way

Don’t stop and talk to strangers

Strangers with the crowns of thorns

with scars on hands 

with garments torn.

Stay away. Walk away.

Don’t go there. Don’t care.

You might see your face, 

next to theirs:


You might not recognise yourself.

Don’t go there.

No. Stay right here,

It’s all so clear. Here. 

Within our walls 

of wealth.

Don’t go.

Don’t cross the line

For if you go you won’t return the same

If you wake you’ll never sleep again.

You world will break.

Your walls will break.

Your heart will break

open to the possibility 

that the world 

is bigger than you knew,

more beautiful than you understood,

and worth the fight

within yourself 

to win,

For us and them.

The problem is with the seeing.

So open your eyes.

Wide. Wider.

The problem is with the hearing

So open your ears, listen.

Long. Longer. 

If you never hear the 

sound of Jesus calling,

you’ll never know it

deep within your heart,

teaching it to beat

Soft. Softer.

Leading it to love.

Deep. Deeper.

Leading it to go.


To the border line. 

A poem for World Refugee Day

Dedicated to all who wander the earth in search of hope, humanity and a home.

#WorldRefugeeDay #withrefugees #TogetherWithRefugees

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter Clarke says:

    Hi Liz, I appreciate your compassionate heart, and your gift of being able to express deep and profound thoughts in words. Thank you.


    1. Liz Campbell says:

      Thanks Peter. Lovely to hear from you


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s