Poetry is a medium that helps me make meaning of my experiences, my thoughts and feelings, which is something we are called to do continuously as development practitioners. It’s a tool I often privately call upon when faced with the inevitable doubts, and triumphs, and heartaches of this work.

Inspired by Dennis Whittle’s recent post on Poetry and Development, emboldened by Saundra Schimmelpfennig sharing of her poem, and encouraged by @akhilak @zenpeacekeeper, and @rkrystalli on Twitter today, it is time for me to finally come out of the closet.

For the first time here, I’m sharing a small selection of ten of my unpublished poems that may hopefully ring familiar in other aid workers’ souls too.

I am a poet, now loud and proud. Here goes nothing…


The Vortex

We are called

to look within

and dance with uncertainty.

For what we thought we know,

no longer holds.

Or does it?

It’s time to ask again,

Even if the answers don’t


Rather than collide,

two forces mingle and exchange.

Waters indistinguishable

and yet one.


Ode to Samsonite (or, A long goodbye, travel companion)

Since returning from Africa,

you have sat on my porch.

Neither can I bring you inside,

nor send you away…


Read this and more poems at:


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Tags: Haiti, aid, communications, complexity, development, grassroots, home, international, leave, movements, More…poetry, refugees, travel, workers


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