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The On Being Project

“Refugee Not Always”


Our father
 who was always our father
 not always our father

 not always
 once a confident schoolboy
 strolling Jerusalem streets

He knew the alleyways
 spoke to stones
 All his life he would pick up stones
 and pocket them
 On some he drew

What do we say in the wake of one
 who was always homesick?
 Are you home now?
 Is Palestine peaceful in some dimension
 we can't see?
 Do Jews and Arabs share the table?
 Is holy in the middle?

This dedication is excerpted with permission from Naomi Shihab Nye’s collection of poetry, Transfer. For more poetry, visit our Poetry Radio Project.


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