Home thoughts: poetry for Refugee Week

yellowleavesThe ‘poetry tree’ in St Andrew Square Garden

Home is a dead tree in the garden.  Well, not quite so dead now that it is fluttering with poems about home to mark Refugee Week in Edinburgh.

The poems are in many languages – Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, English – but they all focus on thoughts of home.  The shortest is just three words: “Here and there” a simple reality of a new life in Edinburgh far from the home that was Pakistan. You can fill in your own emotion.


Poems about home were written at a workshop in The Welcoming led by Ryan van Winkle, Reader in Residence at the city libraries and Scottish Poetry Library. The workshop was organised by the poetry library in partnership with The Welcoming and Oxfam. Then, in pouring rain, we hung the poems  on the tree near the Coffee Republic Pavillion on Monday 15 June, the start of Refugee Week.

Some of the poems will be read at a simple lunchtime event in St Andrew Square Garden (Edinburgh’s poetry garden) on Thursday between 1pm and 2pm.  With luck this time the rain will stay away – but the poetry will remain on the tree until 29 June.

[PS Or will they? You better hurry – at lunchtime, today Thursday, there were empty wires where the poems had been. Ryan says he refuses to be insulted: “I hope they are decorating someone’s fridge somewhere”]


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