For our refugee friend Easton, writing poetry has given him a positive outlet to express himself, ease tension, and distract him from cruel circumstances. Over the past few years, with the support of JRS UK and the British Red Cross, Easton has had the opportunity to develop his writing and performance skills.
Easton has been accommodated through JRS UK’s hosting scheme, At Home, for several months. Having stable accommodation has reduced the level of risk and uncertainty in Easton’s life, providing him with the space to continue working on and digitalising his anthology of poems.
Amy-Leigh, JRS Accommodation Officer, had the fortune of sitting down with Easton many times this year to read or listen to his work. She found it difficult to select one of his poems for this blog post, so she was relieved when Easton smiled his big smile and pointed to ‘Homeless but Honest’.
Homeless but Honest
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west
While foxes have holes and birds have nests
But the son of man has nowhere to lay his head
Can’t get any rest
Because he’s homeless and doesn’t
even have a bed
They say that honesty is the best of policies
But while I’m being honest
The next man being crafty
As I was travelling through the streets of homelessness
Going about my business
Trying to find a place to lay my weary head
Because I’m homeless and doesn’t
own a bed
Only thinking of one thing
To get my head rested
After an unpleasant and hectic day
So, I boarded a bus that was heading west
Hoping and thinking I could get some rest
Sitting by a window-seat
That I could feel at ease
And stretched out my feet
With tiresome dim eyes
I saw underneath the seat beside my stretched feet
There was this phone
I thought I could have for my own
As I reached down and picked it up
The screen of the phone just lights up
A baby’s face appears on screen
With penitence and innocent beauty
I didn’t have the conscience to keep it
I fiddled about with it for a while
But seeing the child’s face I could not smile
Thinking should I keep it or hand it in
The penitence and innocence of the baby’s face
I decided to give the phone to the driver
Assuming he was honest enough
To return it to its rightful owner
The following day when I recollect
That I should have kept it till it rings
Maybe there would be a reward to collect
But now it’s in another man’s hand
So, thinking I was trying to be honest and blessed
But the next man out there might not
I might be homeless
But I am honest
“Being a refugee, seeking safety and running from danger is hard. The system gives us no support. We can’t work. There are all these restrictions on our lives. We’re not treated like a human being. We’re just trying to live like everybody else but we’re not recognised as a person. It is stifling.
I feel like I’ve been trapped in a corner to die sometimes.
I’ve been in desperation a lot. On this day, when I found this phone, I didn’t have a phone. I had been sleeping on the night bus. I didn’t want to, I didn’t want someone I knew to see me, but I didn’t have other choices.
I’d be out with friends – it would get late, and they’d go home, go off to eat dinner. I felt left out. I had nowhere to go. No money, no phone. I just didn’t know where to turn.
It felt stationary.
But even in desperation, I wanted to choose honesty. That phone’s important to that child and its mother. They need it more than me I thought.”
Although Easton still faces many challenges and anxieties, we are grateful that through the generosity of volunteer hosts in our At Home scheme, he no longer has to sleep on the night bus and spend his days searching for somewhere to rest. We are also grateful that he has chosen to share his talents and creativity with us through his poetry.
We’re always in need of hosts for our hosting scheme, helping destitute refugees in the UK to feel At Home. We are holding an information session about hosting on the 14th of September. Learn more about the ‘At Home’ scheme and meet other hosts by registering here.