It’s different

poem by Dave Bradley read on Sunday 24th Jan 2016 as part of our series on refugees

It’s Thursday morning in Asylum Link.
The English class has a visitor,
Community policeman Phil.
Kindly, friendly Phil.
His honest face has our attention.
He smiles, they smile, we all smile.
Roads – safety – cars – safety –
licences and rules – safety – bikes – safety.
How to be safe, in a nice warm voice
in a nice, warm country.
Good old Phil.
Rambles on about policing in Britain.
The he asks the killer question.
Is it different in your country?
And the man from Syria says
(very quietly)
Yes, it’s different.
So quietly,
he can hardly be heard.
“It’s very different”, he says.
His quick rueful smile is knowledge
from a world I cannot comprehend.
The talk moves on to Lahore and bribes,
but the man from Syria is not listening.
His eyes are unfocused.
He is far away.
Where is he?
Where has he travelled in the last few seconds?
Somewhere different.
Somewhere very different.