Play Nice, a poem

Syrian refugee children attend a lesson in a UNICEF temporary classroom in northern Lebanon, July 2014

“Millions of children are on the move. Some are driven from their homes by conflict, poverty or disaster; others are migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life. Far too many encounter danger, detention, deprivation and discrimination on their journeys.” UNICEF MORE fair
shout it like an indignant child
no fair, the dispossessed and hungry,
no fair, the murdered and the maimed,
no fair, the great disruption and those

forced to abandoned hopes, homes
the children flee only to camp out
without country, on swollen borders,
escaping by rough land or bloated boat,
starving, bewildered and lost

it’s not fair, not fair, it’s just not fair
this human condition, call it insanity,
the adults who don’t play nice as our
mothers, each one of them, bid us do

“Almost 1 in 10 children live in areas affect by armed conflicts.” UNICEF

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes; photo credit Russel Watkins, DFID – UK Department for International Development under CC BY 2.0 generic license

According to UNICEF’s Global Compact for Migration:

  • “Between 2005 and 2015, the number of child refugees worldwide more than doubled from four million to nine million
  • “Refugee children are five times as likely to be out of school than other children
  • Almost 1 in 10 children live in areas affected by armed conflicts. More than 400 million live in extreme poverty”

“Not long when I was a child,crossed barbed wires,across borders
in camp for two nights, wonder how Mother felt and held us? Tight
then on we came to the green hills, and I knew not,was it refuge ?
or a new land a home of peace-how attained?what was left with enemy-

“where are the roots that make a family,out of the masses who survived
you cannot guess,for I have seen only images and heard broken voices
who lost half the thought in trying not to remember,bodies cut slain in fields
why we laughed sang,then we cried silently in pain, in the remains”

– Anjum Wasim Dar, excerpt from a poem written out of her life experience

If you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you will have to link through to the site to view this very short video on The Global Compact for Migration / UNICEF.


CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (36): Effie Waller Smith, Bachelor Girl

She does not shirk, but does her work,
Amid the world’s fast hustling whirl,
And come what may, she’s here to stay,
The self-supporting “bachelor girl.”

– Effie Waller Smith in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descen, Margaret Busby

Effie Waller Smith (1879 – 1960) was an African-American poet of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She was smart, independent, and ahead of her time. Her collections are:  Songs of the Month (1904), Rhymes From the Cumberland (1904), and Rosemary and Pansies (1909). Her work was featured in local newspapers and in some of the major publications of the day.

Effie Waller was born to former slaves in the rural mountain community of Chloe Creek in Pike County, Kentucky, on a farm located a few miles from Pikeville.Her father, Frank Waller, migrated to the East Kentucky mountains sometime after the Civil War, having spent most of his early life as a laborer on a Virginia plantation. Her mother, Sibbie Ratliff, was born and raised in East Kentucky and met Frank Waller in the early 1870s. Effie was the third of four children.

Frank Waller was a blacksmith and a real estate speculator. Chloe Creek, the area in which the Wallers lived, was unusual for the time. It was racially integrated. The Wallers were responsible, hard-working, and clean-living.  Frank and Sibbie, realizing the limits of their own educations, were determined that their children would receive a quality education and Effie and her siblings were educated at Kentucky Normal School for Colored Persons in Frankfort, the capitol of Kentucky. Effie subsequently taught in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Effie Waller Smith’s work is worth reading. Unfortunately, the charges on Amazon and Alibris are outrageous and her work is not included in The Gutenberg Project, where you’d be able to download it for free. You might try connecting with Steve at Scholar and Poet Books, EB and Scholar and Poet Books, Abe Books  to see what he has at what price. You can find a few of her poems around on the Internet. Her poems The “Bachelor Girl and The Cuban Cause are included in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent, Margaret Busby. The “Bachelor Girl” is also posted on Literary Ladies HERE. I clipped Apple Sauce and Chicken Fried (posted below the video) from Poem Hunter.

With a nod to Wikipedia; Illustration: Public Domain

It you are reading this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to view this video of Effie’s life and work.

Apple Sauce and Chicken Fried

You may talk about the knowledge
Which our farmers’ girls have gained
From cooking-schools and cook-books,
(Where all modern cooks are trained):
But I would rather know just how,
(Though vainly I have tried)
To prepare, as mother used to,
Apple sauce and chicken fried.

Our modern cooks know how to fix
Their dainty dishes rare,
But, friend, just let me tell you what!-
None of them can compare
With what my mother used to fix,
And for which I’ve often cried,
When I was but a little tot,-
Apple sauce and chicken fried.

Chicken a la Française,
And also fricassee,
Served with some new fangled sauce
Is plenty good for me,
Till I get to thinking of the home
Where once I used to ‘bide,
And where I used to eat,- um, my!
Apple sauce and chicken fried.

We always had it once a week,
Sometimes we had it twice;
And I have even known the time
When we have had it thrice.
Our good, yet jolly pastor,
During his circuit’s ride
With us once each week gave grateful thanks
For apple sauce and chicken fried.

Why, it seems like I can smell it,
And even taste it, too,
And see it with my natural eyes,
Though of course it can’t be true;
And it seems like I’m a child again,
Standing by mother’s side,
Pulling at her dress and asking
For apple sauce and chicken fried.

– Effie Waller Smith



This is the work of Turkish Artist Uğur Gallenkuş. If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to view this video.


Opportunity Knocks: 8 Calls for Submissions, 2 Competitions

I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,—that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Of Note: 

Opportunity Knocks replaces Sunday Announcements.  

Links to articles, events and news of interest to poets and writers are regularly published on The Poet by Day FaceBook Page.  

You are welcome (encouraged) to share your work and announcements on The BeZine Arts and Humanities Facebook Group Discussion Page

MARK YOU CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 is 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE, GLOBAL, 2019 and THE BeZINE 100,000 POETS FOR CHANGE VIRTUAL EVENT, hosted by Michael Dickel.  Look for updates on this site, The BeZine,  and at

Join us for this week’s WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT.

“THE BeZINE” CALL FOR is open for the upcoming June edition to be published on June 15, deadline June 10. This is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. We are unable to pay contributors but neither do we charge for submissions or subscriptions. The theme is sustainability. We publish poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, feature articles, art and photography, and music videos and will consider anything that lends itself to online posting. There are no demographic restrictions. We do not publish work that promotes hatred or advocates for violence. All such will be immediately rejected. We’d like to see work that doesn’t just point to problems but that suggests solutions. We are also interested in initiatives happening in your community – no matter where in the world – that might be easily picked up by other communities. Please forward your submissions to No odd formatting. Submit work in the body of your email along with a BRIEF bio. Work submitted via Facebook or message will not be considered for publication. We encourage you to submit work in your first language, but it must be accompanied by translation into English. / Jamie Dedes


THE BARE LIFE REVIEW publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry by immigrants and refugees. No submission fees. Paying market. Details HERE.

THE LATEST, an online forum of The Bare Life Review focuses on memoir, criticism, and politics. No submission fees. Paying market. Details HERE.

THE PEDESTAL MAGAZINE is open for submissions of poetrythrough May 26. Paying market. No submission fee. Details HERE.

RED INK seeks “to reflect the expressive voice of Indigenous (Native) America as a social-cultural entity”  and is open for submissions of poetry, non-fiction, short fiction, plays, essays, reviews and artwork. No submission fee. Details HERE.

RIVER STYX, Multicultural Literary Explorers Since 1975, publishes poetry and prose and is open for submissions. Submission fee: $2.50. Payment plus subscription. Details HERE.

SANTA FE WRITERS PROJECT ABORTION BAN PROTEST has an open call through June for personal essays, memoir excerpts, flash fiction, short stories, and any other creative prose about your experiences with abortion, delayed birth, wanted pregnancies, child loss, stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies, Plan B mishaps and successes, child support matters, miscarriages, adoption, and anything else related to those topics.No reading fees. Deadline: June 1st. Details HERE.

YEMASSEE JOURNAL, The Official Journal of the University of South Carolina, is open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and flash fiction. Submissions fee: $3. Expedited submission fee: $6. No payment. Details HERE.


RIVER STYX INTERNATIONAL POETRY PRIZE is open through May 31. Entry fee. Cash award. Judge: Oliver de la Paz. Details HERE.

SANTA FE WRITERS PROJECT BOOK AWARD seeks fiction and creative nonfiction entrees in any genre. Cash award. No-obligation book contract. No geographic restrictions. Details HERE.