Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Out of the trees and into the park

"It's like the fall of the Berlin Wall" - Syrian refugee arriving in Austria from Hungary

   the running man 
   runs out of the trees 

the man at the gate 
of the park

holds it wide open 
he smiles

   he mustn't slow down
   he doesn't forget to yell thanks!

   then softly behind 
   the thud and a click . . . 


  1. Oh Gwil, if only your poems weren't so subtle I would know what to comment. I love this for lots of reasons - its brevity, its conciseness, its imagery, but is there something else that I am missing?

  2. Pat, the title is a nod to Hemingway's novel 'Across the River and into the Trees', it's about some people fleeing from Italy and trying to get to safety of Switzerland during WWII. My poem is about people fleeing from Syria trying to get to Germany which is their country of choice in most cases, but politicians in Europe are calling for the borders to be sealed at the perimeters. In other words the gate may be closed hence the click of the lock. But of course in the context of unfolding events the last sentence has a double meaning. It could also mean the thud of door being forced and the click of a gun being cocked . . . behind in Syria. Unfortunately some people always leave it too late to run away. Unfolding events are uncertain. The choice is optional for the reader.

  3. Your answer is interesting Gwil - thanks for it. One of my favourite poets is R S Thomas and some years ago I wrote to him as I found the meaning of one of his poems complex (can't remember which poem) and he answered exactly that 'the choice is optional - so you are, deservedly, in good company.

    1. Good company indeed. I have admired him for years. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize but he was 'overlooked' due to his controversial North Walian 'stance' if I can put it that way. He reminded me very much of my own father.


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