Refugee Week 18-24 June 2012
To celebrate the innumerable stories of political and economic migration that have shaped our cities and societies, 'To Sea' reworks Edward Lear's 'The Jumblies' for a 21st century audience. Echoing the bravery and persistence of Lear's green and blue creatures, this poem serves to highlight the superhuman struggles undertaken daily in the name of freedom and opportunity.

Poetcurious says:

I know the original from my childhood and read it regularly to my young daughters. Reading it as an adult I was struck by the parallels between the fantastic story of the poem and the realities of many of my own friends journey's to this country. Once I had written the poem, I recited it for some of my friends whose stories had inspired it. They told me they were moved by the honesty of the piece and that it resonated with their own experiences. This was obviously a very rewarding response.

After that I contacted human rights charity 'Restless Beings' to discuss turning the poem into a film. I was introduced to video-journalist and documentary maker, Ceren Yilmaz. I presented my ideas for visuals and Ceren edited my still images into the animated montage that you see projected onto my face in the film.
Ceren shot the performance in a single first take before editing it and delivering it to my inbox before midnight!

My greatest thanks and admiration go to Ceren, Mabrur and the whole Restless team for their support and dedication to this project. I am very proud to be associated with this crew!

If you would like to know more about the Restless Beings; find out more information about ways to support Refugee Week; get a film made or if you just want to see more curious poetry, check out the links below...peaCe



To Sea.

They went to sea in a ship they did
With their kids they fled to sea
Inspired by all that their friends would say
At the crack of dawn
On a stormy day in a ship they went to see
They'd saved for months a thousand pounds
And some pulled out and some were drowned
But they called aloud, we had no choice
Oppression has threatened our rights and our voice
And our governments all talk in spin
Far and few, far and few
are the lands where the refugees live
the things they've seen and things they knew
Meant they went to sea just to live
They went across seas in a truck they did
In a truck that drove so fast
With only a couple of survivors tales
The blindest faith and the memory of wailing
mothers whose sons didn't last
And they spent their nights in monoxide haze
and each of them said, "how many more days?
Though it feels so rough and this voyage be long
I hope that my dad was not rash or wrong
Though he cried all the way in the car."
Far and few, far and few
are the land where the refugees live
Queezy green and their hands cold blue
Cos they went to sea just to live
The memories of slaughter bored deep in
The slaughter bore deep in
So to keep themselves sane they drank and sang
in between borders of distant lands
and they shivered from more than the cold
All nights and days became as one
With thoughts of home and days of fun
before the storm before the gun
Before the last hug from their mums
In the shade of the mountains old
Far and few, far and few
are the lands where the refugees live
They head for green and pastors new
And they went to sea just to live
They sailed to the western seas they did
To a land that was famed for its riches
And they worked long days for very low pay
And when people came they would hide away
from their life of dishes and sieves
No employee rights though most didn't need them
See working your arse off to some people's freedom
After a meal and a shave of a razor
The rest gets wrapped in a pinky paper
and sent in a package back home
Far and few far and few
are the lands where the refugees live
Their beds are clean and their shoes are new
and they feel like they're starting to live.
And in 20 years they might come back
In 20 years or more
It all depends on how they've grown
In a land without family away from their home
And the state of their homeland too.
But most won't go back
If they've built up a life with a job
And some kids and a house and a wife
They'll live as your neighbour and moan about rain
and the queues for the doctor, the price of train,
And the bloody immigrants too
Far and few, far and few
are the lands where the refugees live
They're just like me and they're just like you
And they have the same rights to live.

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