lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

NPD Poem of the Day, The Ballad of Refuge by David Punter

Poem of the Day comes from David Punter of Bristol:


The Ballad of Refuge


I come in fear. The wheels, the stuttering engine,

By road or wave; the endless killing payments.

Bit by bit, my mind returns to rubble.


You come in fear. The hunched back, failed bravado,

They make me squirm. You have no place here, brother;

Get back, for you remind me of my weakness.


I starve, I thirst. I’m out there in my millions,

Teeming, weeping. Just allow me, brother,

One foot on land. I’ll work hard for my pittance.


You starve, you thirst. What of me, of my neighbours,

Struggling in an austere land? The steel-plant’s silent,

My skills no longer fit, my hands are idle.


My hopes are gone. My suffering gods won’t travel,

My women cannot see, their eyes are blinded

By the long dust, the silent days of torture.


My hopes are gone. You come and you displace me,

The silent mills and fields, they scorn and mock me,

The Union Jack’s a shroud; all’s ripe for burning.


I call to you. Across the long dark waters,

Carrying a load of trinkets not worth selling,

Umbrellas, handbags, at the gang-master’s calling.


You call to me. I stop my ears with plaster,

My sons and daughters can’t afford their schooling,

My hospitals are full, the asylum’s broken.


My last cry sinks. Protect me from this hardness,

This cold that shrinks my soul. Pity me, brother,

Or think on me adrift on the long night’s calling.


My last cry sinks. Protect me from this falling.

The bailiffs come, the sheets won’t disentangle.

My homeland’s gone. God help us all this winter.



© David Punter




Please comment here! Thank you!

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: