THE DAY THE WAR CAME
The day war came there were flowers on the window sill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep. My mother made my breakfast, kissed my nose and walked with me to school. That morning I learned about volcanoes, i sang a song about how tadpoles turn at last to frogs. I made a picture of myself with wings. Then, just after lunch, while I watched a cloud shaped like a dolphin. WAR CAME
At first, just like a spattering of hail a voice of thunder...then all smoke and fire and noise,
that I DON'T UNDERSTAND. It came across the playground. It came into my teacher's face.
It brought the roof down and turned my town to rubble. I can't say the words that tell you
about the BLACKENED HOLE THAT HAD BEEN MY HOME.
All I can say is this war took everything. WAR TOOK EVERYONE. I was ragged, bloody, all alone
I ran. Rode on the back of trucks, in buses, walked over fields and roads and mountains,
in the cold and mud and rain, on a boat that leaked and almost sank and up a beach
where babies lay face down in the sand.
I RAN UNTIL I COULDN'T RUN, until I reached a row of huts and found a corner with a dirty blanket
and a door that rattled in the wind. But WAR HAD FOLLOWED ME. It was underneath my skin,
behind my eyes, and in my dreams. It had taken possession of my heart.
I walked and walked to try and drive war out of myself, to try and find a place it hadn't reached.
But WAR WAS IN THE WAY THAT DOORS SHUT when I came down the street.
It was in the way the people didn't smile, and turned away.
It came to a school, I looked in through the window. They were learning all about volcanoes.
And drawing birds and singing. I went inside. My footsteps echoed in the hall.
I pushed the door and faces turned towards me but the teacher didn't smile.
SHE SAID, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR YOU, you see, there is NO CHAIR FOR YOU to sit on,
you have to go away. And then I understood that war had got here too.
I turned around and went back to the hut, the corner and the blanket and crawled inside.
It seemed that war had taken all the world and all the people in it. The door banged.
I thought it was the wind. But a child's voice spoke: "I brought you this", she said,
"so you can come to school." IT WAS A CHAIR. A chair for me to sit on and learn about volcanoes,
frogs and singing. And drive the war out of my heart.
She smiled and said:
"MY FRIENDS HAVE BROUGHT THEIRS TOO, SO ALL THE CHILDREN HERE CAN COME TO SCHOOL."
Out of every hut a child came and we walked together, on a road all lined with chairs.
PUSHING BACK THE WAR WITH EVERY STEP . . . . .
Children's author Nicole Davies has written this poem in response to the government's decision not to allow lone refugee children a safe haven in the UK.
As a response to this I (Patricia Overdam) made this piece with chairs from glass bottles.
This chair project was on display during the weekend of June 16-18, 2017, at IKA (Mechelen, Belgium)
Going around in Circles
("Going around in Circles" - overview)
("Going around in Circles" - detail)
Together - We can - Make a - Difference
("Together - We can - Make a - Difference" - overview)
From video description:
ADM'r Patricia Overdam (A la Patricia) created this life line / recycled bottles sculpture in support of the volunteers of our ADM project: 'Aid Delivery Mission'. Those peoples went earlier in 2017 on a mission for several months to the Greek / Serbian border in order to support the refugees with food, clothing and entertainment.
The idea behind the project is that Patricia couldn't partake in this mission, but wanted to support it. The 'bottle life line' is in her own words, a symbol of hope and 'together we can make a difference' is what the volunteers of the Aid Delivery Mission are doing with the refugees, but it also stands for what the Netherlands should do in general: taking refugees in!