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Angela Graham: "It’s urgent – Sanctuary. We have created this pamphlet with a sense that its theme is crucial. We live on an imperilled planet. The air we breathe is compromised by pollution and potential infection. Trust in authority and in one another has become harder to maintain. Is anything sacrosanct? What does ‘holy’ mean for us these days and what do we believe in? How can we be safe – and open? We need other people; we fear other people. How do we find our personal Sanctuary; or create it for others? And if we are fortunate enough to be in a safe place, who do we let in or keep out? What do we lose in return for our safety?"

I felt honoured to be asked to contribute to this project, but I was dreading going back so far in time into my own history. I was a refugee during the Cold War over thirty years ago in Europe, not now and not in the UK. Yet, I am going through a period of my life when I have to be a sanctuary for many: my ageing parents, my daughter, and my husband. When taking the issue onto a personal level I realised the broader consequences of my defecting and the huge responsibility it might mean for any individual or country to provide sanctuary. The microcosm was reflecting the macrocosm. It is a beautiful role, to be the host, the healer, the mother, the friend, the priest or priestess or the inn-keeper as such if you are mature enough to take the burden onto your shoulders with dignity.

This book of poetry is available from the publisher @serenbooks

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