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[Poetry Friday] Refugees Welcome: “Accepting This” by Mark Nepo and “What They Took With Them” by UNHCR

poetry friday

Myra here.

It has been awhile since I have joined the Poetry Friday community, being hosted this week by Karen Edmisten.


Over the past several weeks, we have been sharing “wild” posts as we celebrate the untamed, the mischievous, artists and rebels in literature. What could be more subversive than poets, really, as they redefine the world around them with metaphors, capturing transient realities in verse, their very essence condensed in a few powerful words that move sensibilities.


Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead

Edited by: Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner Foreword by: Madeleine K. Albright Introduction by: Parker J. Palmer Afterword by: David Whyte
Publisher: Jossey-Bass: Wiley, 2007
ISBN: 0787988693 (ISBN13: 9780787988692) 
Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Over the past several weeks, this book right here provided the much-needed balm to my soul. It is the third book in the series for teachers/leaders edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner as can be seen below:


Unlike the first two books that specifically target teachers (see my review of Teaching with Heart here)Leading from Within is a collection of 93 poems accompanied by personal commentaries of leaders in various fields and disciplines (not just education) as they ruminate about how certain poems have resonated with them as they deal with various challenges in their work. The entire book is divided into nine sections: (1) Called (2) Defining Moments (3) Sometimes It Aches (4) Pay Attention (5) The Real Bottom Line (6) Dare to Endure (7) Leading Together (8) Back At It and (9) Leading With Fire: Using Poetry in Our life and Work.

Each section has around 11 to 13 poems, each poem shared by surgeons, community activists, politicians, lawyers, educators, coaches who spoke feelingly about how their selected poem helps them to continue doing what they do best. It is a tough calling to lead; it requires tenacity, grit, and commitment that comes from a wellspring of faith and belief in people’s capacity for truth, justice, goodness. This book served as my aquifer of light, providing illumination and comfort to my aching soul, as I bear witness to the trainwreck that is the elected President of my home country, the Philippines, with state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings happening, a permeating politics of hatred bringing out the savage, the vicious, the self-righteous among supposedly decent people.

Despite all this, I choose light. And so, my heart was filled with hope and joy when I saw this sign when my girlfriend and I visited Madrid for a week several months back:


In a world filled with hatred, there can be glimmers of beauty and acceptance. A poem from this book matches this sentiment of inclusivity, reminding us that all that we need is right here, right now, because there is truly nothing that we own in this world: Accepting This by Mark Nepo.


I would also like to share this very powerful spoken word poetry entitled “What They Took With Them” prepared by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and performed by pretty well-known people right here. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 7.27.03 PM

(16/24) Read a collection of essays

5 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Refugees Welcome: “Accepting This” by Mark Nepo and “What They Took With Them” by UNHCR

  1. Very powerful video!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of us are looking for hope and light right now, in a world that seems to be going mad. Poetry can truly be, as you say, a balm to soothe our wounded souls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie

    Accepting love/wherever I can find it. I love Teaching With Fire, did not know of this one of ‘leading’, Myra. Thank you, and for the video. It humbles us, doesn’t it? I’ve been following the Philippines chaos a little bit. I’m sorry for this turmoil for you, for your family and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn

    I’m sorry to hear that you have a political train wreck happening. It’s hard enough to watch the possibility of one here in the US, but to live with one…well, I hope we don’t have to and I’m sorry you do.

    I didn’t know there was a third book in this series! Just a week or so ago I was looking for my copy of Teaching With Fire…did I lend it to someone? 🙂

    It’s hard, but it’s always important to choose love and acceptance.

    Wow. That video.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That video is very moving. Terrifying. It reminded me of my ancestors, forced to leave, unwelcome when the arrived. Poor, starving, but determined. Hard-working. We should all be able to relate to refugees here in the US.


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