Friday Fictioneers microfiction: Refugees

This is for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge.

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria


“Which one is it, Baba?” Tarek, the eldest asked. “The big black and white one with the red funnel”

Ammar cast an anxious look at his wife Rima. “It might be,” he replied. “Let’s hope so, shall we?”

Little Amira tugged at her mother’s sleeve. “What are these for?” she asked, pointing at the pile of tatty life jackets Ammar had bought with the last of their money.

Rima tried hard to smile. “They’re for just in case.”

Ammar took her hand and clutched it tight.





There are shadows on the shore

I’m sure you all know which photo illustrates this short poem. I don’t have the heart to reproduce it again.

There are shadows on the shore,
Of children who will never play,
Building castles in the sand,
Never slip off new shoes
And run barefoot through the surf.
They lie in their last sleep,
Still faces turned toward the sun,
Caressed by gentle ripples,
While we sift through the wreckage
Of their broken dreams
And jingle the coins in our pockets.


Painting by Tomilovsky. I know, I’ve used it before, but it fits.


Haunted, the ocean waves,
With the souls that no one saves,
Carried on the swell to the promised land,
And laid with tenderness on the gentle sand.
In the broken spaces,
The lonely, empty places,
The sad and desperate faces,
Watch the breaking dawn.
While we wake in wonder,
Pools of moon pearls round our bed,
And the sky seems palely empty,
When the bright stars all have fled.
No fear for us on waking,
Night shadows behind the light,
We listen in peace to the blackbird’s song,
As dawn rolls back the night.

Blackbirds: an elegy


The vines are full of blackbirds in the golden light,
No thought but to catch the dripping sweetness of the grapes.
No tangled webs they weave, of contracts signed and shipped,
Of blood and grief and men sent out to fight.

The blackbird eats until he needs no more,
Then fills the world with song without compare,
While we watch with eyes of stone or full of tears,
And count dead children washed up on the shore.


Painting by Friedrich Karl Ströher


How so calm the sea,
When so much death lies beneath its billows?
How so silent the sky,
That echoed surely with last anguished cries?
No waves watch death come, with cold, impassive eyes,
Nor does the sky hear and disregard the pleading.
Beneath the rising and the setting of moon and sun,
Rolling in the ebb and flow of endless tides,
Is all of life and death and the easing of pain.
Ocean swells, silk-smooth and tranquil as a shroud,
Cradling the lost in its vast, implacable tenderness,
Gathering up the misery no one wants,
And gulls bear whispers in their strong white wings,
Memories soft as swansdown,
To soar beneath other, gentler skies.