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The Old Majolica Bowl

January 13, 2017

Here’s another poem from my debut collection Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose, published by Cestrian Press last August. The poem subsequently appeared, along with six of my others, in Unheard, our Chester Poets anthology 2016, also from Cestrian Press, the central theme of which was dispossession, alienation and homelessness.

The poem is about an orphaned refugee girl, and I tell her story as if to one of my younger granddaughters…




She’s just a little girl, my love.

She cannot speak nor even cry,

so terrible have been

the things she’s seen

in her faraway ravaged land,

the land she has fled in fear.

But she’s just a little girl like you.


No mummy, daddy or granny anymore

because of the war,

she lives in a muddy camp across the Channel.


All she has left is an old Italian bowl,

the gloriously coloured majolica bowl

that always stood in a shaft of light,

lemons, limes and apples piled bright.

It’s a miracle it wasn’t destroyed by the bomb.

Pity anyone who’d steal it now

for this little girl can be fierce.


She paints like you, my love,

but uses more red than blue,

much more red than you.

She cannot speak but paints in red.


In her cold camp bed

she clutches her bowl,

the old majolica fruit bowl.

Miracles do happen,

and cross the Channel she will someday

to a happy life in our country.

Kind people to care for her

and a little girl who will be her friend,

a friend who’ll help her find her voice again.

So she believes.


A little girl like you, my love.


Paul Beech


Copyright (c) Paul Beech 2017


  1. Page 54, loved it and it still moves me. All of your words are moving. Beautifully sad.

    • Thank you, dear Pat. This was a poem truly written from the heart. Pity the children…


  2. maureen Weldon permalink

    This is an extra special and beautiful poem, I think it would move the heart of a stone, and somewhere sadly there are such people whose hearts seem to be made of stone.
    from, Maureen xx

    • Thank you, Maureen, my love. Your poem ‘The Empty City’ is a very special and moving one too. I’ve seen how audiences react when you read it.

      As for the stony-hearted, who care nothing for the plight of the innocents, shame on them!

      Paul xxx

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