York Amnesty Creative Writing Competition 2021 "Locked" — RESULTS

lock on a wooden door

The Results of the Writing Competition


Locked Inside ~ Siobhan Gilmartin

I like your face, I like your voice, I like the colour of your skin
I’ll be a friend, a neighbour – to you and your kin
Yet, you turn away as I approach
Like vermin or a roach
You block my path. Even my voice, my stare
You show disdain for, and cannot bear to share
With me the freedom of a simple smile.

You turn your back to me, so locked in your own fear
So trapped in certain superiority and, beneath the sneer
You hold such pride in your right to use
Our difference, as a just excuse
To refuse to shake my hand.
But - if you knew the story of how and why I reached your land
You’d learn that freedom has a simple smile.

I’ve been locked up, locked away, locked out and locked in
But never so locked inside, that scars on someone’s darker skin
Would make me squirm inside
Or wish that they would hide
Away, and not remind me of a war that was not mine
In a far-off country, at some unknown time
Where people never knew the freedom of a simple smile.

Spurned, I will never reject you or share your disdain.
I will never ask you how or why you came to know such pain.
If you let me share your space
Maybe one day, we will find a time and place
To talk if not as friends, as fellow human beings
(I would never insist you know or burden you with my feelings)
But only hope to share with you the freedom of a simple smile.

Oh, I long for my country’s freedom, the day I finally go home
But I have some friends here, and am rarely alone:
I don’t need your pity.
It’s just that – as I am a refugee
Please - don’t block me from your view with hate.
I didn’t mean to come here. I was locked in prison and thought that was my fate
Until one day - plucked straight from hell - I arrived, yes, begging at your city’s gate.
But who really wants to know? I’m just passing through and only hope to stay a while
So let me thank you for my freedom – with all I own - a simple smile.