Family visit: A poem for Palestine
Palestinian boys play soccer in a street of the Beach refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip Monday, May 13, 2002. Where might these children be today, 21 years later? | Marco Di Lauro / AP

A Family Visit

Thousands of Palestinian children arrive at our door,
Lucky our garden is big.

They run through the house into the sun
And climb our trees and make swings,
Play chase getting puffed out in stitches.

You get out every single pot and tureen
And whip up the greatest meals you’ve ever made,
With lashings of ice cream and hearty dishes.

We find sacks and sacks of fruit pastels.
Hundreds run to help with the washing up,
The kitchen is loud with clatter and rows
About putting things in the right place.

They love our dogs and take turns throwing their ball
Amidst the scurrying legs of friends.

There are games going on we’ve never seen and some sing
Their favourite songs beautifully in the shade,
While others rattle off their rhymes
And shriek with laughter at their naughty puns.

At dusk they snuggle down together, exhausted by the fun.

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Doug Nicholls
Doug Nicholls

Doug Nicholls is a writer in the U.K. Now retired, he was formerly the general secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), a national trade union center in Britain.