Harsh places, and
Harsh ideas to conquer others
The big group pretends to be winner
But they have not truly won,
For they have only ideas about being big.
The small groups stay quiet
But there is not really peace
For they are full of dissatisfaction.
I think they do not know that
Understanding is the source of peace
And they do not know the value of smiling.
But I understand them.
Their bad experiences
And the society
Create their ideas.
Their injuries build their behavior.
They are mostly young,
Not much more than twenty.
Instead of studying,
Learning to understand
And finding the ability to smile,
They sit in jail.
If we can make them smile,
Or help them to understand
That they do not need big and small groups,
Then they can truly smile at each other.
[This poem was written by a detainee in a Bangkok immigration jail. Some people have lived in those crowded cells for up to four years. The poet, who was arrested with some Burmese refugees, was reflecting on the lives of the people he sees around him rather than on his own problems.]