Take away the hands that held me,
the eyes in which I first saw
love, the mouths from which I learned
to speak.

Take away the house I played in,
the bed I slept in, knowing
they were near. Take their footsteps
from the earth.

Take the city and the sky with it,
the streets I walked looking
for them, take the plane from around me
in mid-air.

See how I land with what they gave me.

Hands that are ready to hold,
eyes in which you will see
love, a mouth that is learning
to speak.

by Gregory Leadbetter

(c) Gregory Leadbetter

From See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers, ed. Carole Angier, Rachel Buxton, Stephanie Kitchen, and Simon White, with a foreword by Shami Chakrabarti (Heaventree Press, 2009)

We’re delighted to begin the current series of Weekly Poems with a poem from See How I Land: Oxford Poets and Exiled Writers – indeed, with the poem which gives the anthology its title.

See How I Land is a collection which brings together the work resulting from the ‘Oxford Poets & Refugees Project’, an initiative of the Brookes Poetry Centre and Oxfordshire charity Asylum Welcome.

The project paired 14 established poets with 14 exiled writers, refugees, and asylum seekers. Greg Leadbetter was one of the poets involved; he worked with Dheere, who came to the UK from Somalia in 1999.

For more information about the project, and to find out how to purchase a copy of See How I Land, please visit the project webpage.

You can also find links on this webpage to some of the other poetry that came out of the project: Bernard O’Donoghue’s ‘Emigration’, a passage from Yousif Qasmiyeh’s ‘Holes’, and Jean-Louis N’Tadi’s ‘Flight of the Writers’.