Event 1: Lublin, Poland


The collective poem in Lublin

Lublin: Wspólnie pisany wiersz

We focus in on one word that has stayed with us from any of the testimonies that we have heard and write it on a card button ...

There is a blue cloth on the floor and some coloured ribbons – one colour for each story from Iby, Fatima, Jasminka, Alon, Nahida and Assef.

Word buttons are placed on the ribbons.We work round one another to place them appropriately. At one point, it’s like a game of Twister. One of the words someone has written is “twisted”.

We look at the words in front of us. We each select one and write a phrase, using that word.

IMAGESThe phrases are added to the cloth and together we move them around until they resonate. Sometimes, we have to change the tense of a word. Sometimes, words are removed.


We concentrate, we listen to one another, we take care to include contributions from everyone.

Collaborative poem after hearing stories from people who had to leave their countries


We were twisted with anxiety until we left

The coffee that once brought joy in Bosnia now brings sadness

“Othering” is a curse amongst neighbours

Iby’s defiance overcame her hunger

After fleeing Chechnya and coming to Poland

I was again hopeful for my children

Relearning what a home can be.

We are lucky to be together

Separation bleeds like a wound

It’s a relief to be reunited.

Feeling safe depends on neighbours

Every “Bob” trusts people with open hearts

It’s such a patchwork of knowledge and compassion

Drink coffee again with joy.