When I saw them, filthy, ragged
Grieved despairing in their eyes
Did I seek to bring them hope,
Or did I fool myself with lies?
Did I realize their sorrow,
Seek to bring a bright tomorrow?
No, I turned away, recoiling
Closed my eyes in blank neglect
Never did it cross my mind
That they might, too, deserve respect
When I heard their foreign speaking
Smooth and measured, harsh and fast
Did I seek to bridge the gap,
Or let the chasm grow more vast?
Did I try to understand
To help them in this distant land?
No, I turned away, bewildered
Closed my eyes and closed my ears
Filled my mind with other thoughts
Blind and deaf unto their fears
When I saw them, heard them there
People too, but set apart
Did I seek myself in them,
Or keep away and close my heart?
Did I aim to bring them near,
To wipe away their every tear?
No, I turned away, unwilling
Closed my eyes and would not see
Told myself they were not real
How could they be? They're not like me.