The Tea Glasses

I met Jamal at the biggest refugee camp
of Europe, where I volunteered
They had put up tents
in the middle of the forest in Holland
to host 3000 refugees

After a horrible journey
Jamal had just escaped from the war in Syria
He was a middle-aged man
who had lost everything:
his home, his wife, his children
and his family

I invited him to have dinner at my place
He came together with another refugee and his child
They hardly spoke any English
We ate in silence

They all were very traumatized
The small child couldn’t play no more
And even the candy and the toy car
I had bought for him
Didn’t give him reason to smile

I gave Jamal my phone number
and told him that he could call me
whenever he needed help

A week later on a Friday night,
the phone rang
It was Jamal and he was completely panicked
I first needed to calm him down
And it took a while
before I could understand
what was going on
In his panic he had lost
all his English words

It turned out he had taken a bus
as he wanted to go to the city centre
but he had taken the wrong one
And now, he was in the middle of nowhere
He didn’t know where he was
And how he could come back
to the refugee camp

It took a while before I had figured out
where Jamal was
But then I immediately jumped in my car
to pick him up
He was beyond grateful

And then a few days later
the phone rang again:
‘Marieke, sorry, please, you come?’
I jumped in my car
to drive to the camp
as I thought there was another problem
that needed to be solved

But when I arrived Jamal smiled
he handed me a present
With his last money
he had bought four tea glasses
to thank me

The tea I drink from those glasses
somehow tastes different
As it fills me with deep gratitude
And then I realize what is truly important
And how we humans
are all connected


The Ticking Clock

Never before had I seen
a man with so much grief.
When my grandmother died,
she left my grandfather behind
helpless and devastated

I was a student in my early twenties
and I then made a commitment
I made of Friday grandpa day
Every week I travelled three hours
to be with him

His tears kept flowing
He complained that everyone
had let him down
How he was all alone
And that I had again brought the wrong groceries with me

In the small living room
with big brown oak furniture
I listened to him
while he smoked
one cigarette after another

My grandmother looked at me
from several pictures
Her slippers were still underneath
the coffee table
Her keys in the bowl
in case she needed them again

Nothing had changed since she left
Like she could come back any minute
Only the ticking of an antique clock
reminded me of the fact
that time existed

My grandfather got sick
The grief turned into a physical disease
A cancer in his intestines
That grew and grew
As his tears flowed and flowed
And spread itself through his body

It then was grandpa day twice a week
In the half dark
I sat with him for hours and hours
In silence, with only the sound of
the antique clock ticking
He felt too sick to talk

I learned the value of presence
without any words
the value of unconditional giving

And one day he suddenly
whispered to me:
‘Please tell me all about heaven.’
I told him about it and said that his wife would be waiting there
And that they would be reunited

He whispered ‘thank you’
Tears lit up in his eyes
while he smiled
And then the silence returned
Never before had I felt so close
to him

And one day I got a phone call
that his end was near
When I arrived and entered the room
my grandfather had his eyes closed
‘Who is there?’ he asked the nurse
‘It is Marieke’ she said
He smiled, his voice weak
‘Oh it is the angel,
she was sent to me from heaven.’

A few hours later
the clock stopped ticking


The Unfolding Story

The river at my feet
Water in motion
A story unfolding
Words give me wings
To see things
from above like flying
birds see
The water underneath

Just a simple love story
That flows through time
and space
About a man and
a woman,
A match made in heaven,
That came
across the rocks in the river
on earth
Though whatever happened
And wherever it may go
It is not the end yet
Water continues
to flow
Adam and Eve
Romeo and Juliet
All that came before
Whatever has been told
about them,
Whatever may be written
Their love beyond the story
can’t be caught
in words


Divine Love

I didn’t look
for love
Though love found me
And put
a fire in my soul
I didn’t know
That I have always known
The mirror of
my soul

I fall down on my knees
in this holy house of love
Truth is blissful
Blessed and grateful
As veils of illusions
are pulled aside
I say a prayer
of naked words

My heart is a lighthouse
That brightly shines its light
So that you can find
your way home
To love
is the closest thing
to God


Leaving Leaves

The Fall falls down
Heavy on my shoulders
Harvest moon that shines
Upon the lovers’ souls
Blessed is the Autumn wind
That takes us far from here
And blows us
into the comfort of our dreams

Soon you will leave this land
Like the leaves leave the tree
Though there is no goodbye
Always a welcome
To the one I hold dear

And we both know
Winter will knock at our doors
Cold will push us inside
But then let us warm us
With the promise of Spring


Cup Of Love 

I am on the other side of the river bank
And I hold my cup of love
up high
Precious nectar of the heart
that flows
Shimmering divine
I’d like to offer it to you
But I came from far
and I’m so tired and thirsty
So let me drink it first
Then please choose
If you’d like to drink
from this sacred cup of mine
If your heart is open
to receive
‘Cause this cup of deepest love
is for the braves
Who are willing to lose
everything they once believed in
And maybe
You too would like to share
your cup with me
And unblind me
with your truth
We only have a bridge to cross
So let us meet halfway
Let us be drunk by love
Drunk by our truth


Grounded In Love

The heavens open up
I flow with the water
Tears merge with raindrops

You’re so close
Though I cannot touch you
I see you within
Though you’re not here

Wounds are aching
A heart is moving
I am whirling around
With the wind

I ground myself in love
Earth myself in heaven
And in the eye of the storm
I am at peace


When Heaven Meets Earth

Wherever you are
Just look at the sky
And you will find me

The sun crosses worlds
The moon lightens shadows
Stars foresee
What we may not see
When heaven meets earth

Just look up
From wherever you are
All my wishes are out there
will rain on us
If you only just believe

Wherever you are
Wherever I am
Look into you
I look into me
And we will find
our universe


If She Were A Tree

Leaves fall down
The wind gives wings
gently brings
them to the ground

The tree
That stands
Firmly rooted
in the earth
Branches reach
Up into the sky
By the rhythm
Of the seasons

If she were a tree
Then he would be her sun
Rays of purest light
Would feed her
She would blossom
Bear the fruits with pride
And then
let them go,
let them fly down
with the wind,
merge with the earth
And let it again
feed her


More Here Than Ever

This town here at the river breathes you
I follow the flow of the water
And I know it leads to you
The ships that are sailing by
Will they once return?
Will they come back to listen
To the story that still burns?

In these sunny streets I walk
Towards brightly missing you
The town holds all the tales
How I would long to tell you
The birds here sing your name
The crowded square looks empty
And the buildings lost their colours
Now they all look grey

Even though you’re not there
You’re more here
than you ever were