One Man Against a Wall

Autumn leaves in the church garden

On Sunday we welcomed Gareth from Baptcare Sanctuary who shared with us this beautiful poem from Cameron Semmens – One Man Against a Wall.

If you’d like to support Baptcare Sanctuary you can bring food parcels to the church, or you can donate directly here. Alternatively you can join us the first Monday of each month when we visit Brunswick Sanctuary to prepare a meal and get to know the guys there.

One Man Against a Wall – Cameron Semmens

One man
against a wall,
let’s call him – Rajeev
let’s call him – an asylum seeker
lets call him – a person.
I ask:
How long’s it been?
How do you live with the uncertainty?
What do you do with your days?
He says: 7 years. It’s hard. Sometimes I paint.
He shows me one of his canvases,
he says
Look at the leaf.
Without leaves there are no flowers.
Leaves are always forgotten.

One man
against a wall –
a towering barricade of bureaucracy,
multi-tiered and jargon-sealed,
as real as any bricks and mortar fortress.
But this wall is spongy and slippery,
subject to every political swing and whim;
you’ll never know exactly where it lies,
and where it could bounce to
and where it could bounce you to.
Lets call this – protection.
Lets call this – precaution.
Lets call this – wrong.
I watch a leaf in the courtyard
blown about by the wind –
it is not a dance it chose
torn from its family tree.
Once, it was useful,
now, just litter.

One man
against a wall –
but this wall holds a roof above his head
this wall holds hope for his future.
Smiling, he is stroking his beard, saying:
This is good place.
Government should learn from this place.
People here they listen.
Lets call this – dignifying.
Lets call this – the least we can do.
Lets call this – Sanctuary.
As I sit, mind-spinning,
in the solid, comfy chair of my life
he leaves…
he leaves
and I promise,
I promise to myself,
he will not be forgotten,
this leaf will not be forgotten.

Inspired by my visit to Sanctuary –
a Baptcare service providing housing for asylum seekers.

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