Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma Poem


Here, in the long room,

With the green walls like curtains

And large mirrors ringed with gold,

With the three glass chandeliers

And the art on the pink cracked ceiling;

Here, in the lovely villa

With the gorgeous gardens and uneven ground

That provokes anxiety in some of us and

Is a reminder of history for all of us;

In our ideal city where we are the people

Where coffee is sacred

And lunch is holy;

Here, near the tombs of Lawrence’s lovers of life,

Where women were citizens and queens,

We arrive on the bus

That winds through hilly green roads

Splashed with neat yellow rows of leaves

As the ancient walled city

With the cobble-stoned streets

And towering Duomo

Recedes, like a dream.

Here we gather,

Mostly women with a sprinkling of men,

From Kenya and South Africa and Uganda

and Egypt and the Sudan and Nigeria and Zimbabwe,

From Italy and England

From Chile and Argentina and Colombia and Brazil

From Canada and France

From Turkey and Switzerland and Greece

From India and the United States

And Cambodia and the Philippines and Lebanon

And Albania and Sweden and Haiti

And Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Australia

And others I have not named or do not yet know.

Although we differ in age and race and

Disability and religion and paths behind us and journeys ahead of us,

We are united in our goals of seeking truth,

Of listening with an open heart so as to heal,

And of caring for ourselves as we work.

Here we learn about the eight dimensions of the

Global Mental Health Action Plan

And add our own.

Here we do the hard and sometimes painful work of deep reflection,

Of seeking the inner way.

Here we speak with courage and listen with care.

We share where we are wounded but not broken.


In the room

In the Villa

Near the tombs

We learn.

We hope.

We dream.

We plan.

We believe.

We can.





4 responses to “Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma Poem

  1. I can see and feel your Here from here. A special gathering, a special opportunity that will will yield special insight and special work. A proud moment for you.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks for the good words, my man. Hope all is well with you. I look forward to catching up when I return.


  2. In Orvieto
    violence will be thwarted
    by people like you

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