IDSVT: Write to Life

To mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (IDSVT) 2024, we plastered the voices of survivors across London. 

These voices express themselves through poems of frustration, of hope, of healing. They are borne out of our creative writing group, Write to Life, which supports survivors of torture to tell stories through art forms. 

Watch the video to see how we marked IDSVT and read the featured poems below.

Time by Nalougo

In the midst of the succession of events and phenomena
an inaccurate chronometer which deceives us
we can neither see it, nor smell it, nor touch it
neither direct nor modify it.

It runs and leaves us no reprieve
no right of appeal
it flees like a bird in the night
flows through our fingers like liquid.

Assassin, it kills each successive day
it goes too fast
it's like money
when we give it to one place, we can't give it to another.

But it gives us one advantage: the privilege of age.
It is often said, 'Let's give time to time'
But we always forget to ask,
Is there any time to give?
We only have a handful of sand to live our life
By doing good deeds with joy and happiness.

So, let's take advantage of the time that has been gifted us
Marvel at the world around us
Before life catches up with us, and fills us with regret.

Limbo by Tanya

Waiting, waiting, waiting
For your refugee status
Having to re-live what you went through
Explaining, so much explanation.
What happens whilst you are waiting?
Do you think of what happened:
The torture
The abuse, mentally and physically
Feeding your heart with hatred
Thoughts of revenge?

Or, do you punish yourself
For your inconsistencies
And your faults
Exposing your inner truths?

Whilst waiting
You try to channel your pain
Writing your pain away
Singing your pain away
Trying to bring freedom to your soul

Waiting, waiting, waiting
In limbo

No. 64 Park Road by Marsha

I had four walls.
I had a door,
I could lock it: silence.

There were
floating clouds in the window frame,
darkness, ceramic owls
of different shapes and colours,
house plants that kept dying.

In my twisted thoughts,
I still had hope.

I had tried and tried
to make my home:
in three different countries,
in 10 different houses,
in 24 different rooms.

I felt I belonged there.
Even when
I was too tired of selling burgers.
Even when
I was too hurt from the man I wanted to be loved by.

I could let myself go there,
I’d surrendered to my
darkest thoughts,
Hoping, that by the next morning,
I would feel better.

I have learned
to never stop
my dream of

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Write to Life is the longest-running refugee-writing group in Britain - and it's funded by people like you.