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Patrick Dorrian




Our Key


My Granny minded it

Keeping it safe in her shawl,

It's dark brown patination 

A match for own skin,

The melanin protection

Caused by years in the open sun.


When she died it was passed,

To my mother, her oldest girl.

Often it would be taken out 

In mid May and looked at.

When we got old enough


We'ed ask what it opened.

Then the tears would stream.

Silently they'd flow, wiped

Off with the back of each hand,

That would lower 

And grab us in a hug.


Then we heard of Naktba.

The disaster, Jews that were 

Welcomed, became traitors,

Bringing the soldiers to homes,

That had once offered them shelter,

Now bombed, the men and boys killed.


The key was a reminder of the pain,

A totem for a time when return 

To our land would be possible.

So the key is handled with care

 And will be handed generation

To generation, the key to our future.


Patrick Dorrian is a sixty four year old retired teacher of geography, He lives in Belfast, Ireland with his wife. Dorrian has a deep interest in the plight of Palestinians. In recent weeks there have been many pictures on social media showing young and old refugee Palestinians holding large keys to properties that were stolen from them during and after Nakba. They inspired this poem. 

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