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Commemorating World Poetry Day with Resident Poet Ahmad

Sunday March 21 is World Poetry Day. Poetry is truly wondrous as it reaffirms our most common humanity by revealing to us that people, everywhere in the world, share the same questions, emotions, search for meaning and love of language. For centuries it has allowed us to express and communicate our deepest feelings and values across diverse cultures and experiences. 

Did you know our name is inspired by the 13th century Persian poet and theologian, Rumi, who wrote:  'Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal.'

To mark the day and to showcase his talent, we commissioned Lamp Lifeboat Ladder survivor leader and poet, Ahmad, to write a poem. Ahmad is currently living in Jordan having fled the war in Syria in 2013.  He is also a cheesemaker, having learned the skill from his father and grandfather.  He lives with his wife and three children in Jordan who are hoping to continue their journey and resettle in Canada. 

Ahmad chose to write about Syria in his poem called ‘My Toes Were Freezing’.


My Toes Were Freezing


My toes were freezing

From the cold this morning

While I was under my roof

By my heater

Watching the latest news


They were walking over the ice without cover

Hadn’t eaten for weeks

And they know nothing but misery


Some of them hadn’t thought of eating from the gravity of what had happened.

And some, are still dragging the blood of survival


Bombed were their houses

Bombed was even the ceiling of the sky


What have I ever done

Oh God to be blessed with this warmth

And what have they done, to feel the taste of suffering


I won’t be blissful here, I won’t rejoice, I won’t be full

So long as there is a crying child in our land

And so long as our mothers cry blood


I turned my heater off

Raised my hands

And I still pray for the kindness of destiny

About the author

Sophie McCann

Sophie McCann is a program director and advocate with experience in international development and human rights advocacy in the UK and internationally. She specializes in refugee and migrants’ rights and community-based mental health and gender programming. Sophie is part of the Lamp Lifeboat Ladder team focusing on organizational development and communications.

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