SpaceLogo Sciences Participating with Arts & Culture in Education

By Sumaya Ugas April 26, 2014




On 3 October 2013, a boat carrying migrants seeking the shores of Europe––some from Libya, though many from Eritrea, Somalia and Ghana––sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Well over 300 people died. 


your mother tells you of lampedusa;

a name you’ve heard time and again since youth.

of east african bodies washing up on its shores

(sometimes half alive sometimes not)

usually waves break against wood,

but she tells you of waves that break wood.

tells you of rafts and boats turned upside down,

of panic.

of limbs reaching out, of mothers saving their babies

(or attempting to)

your mother tells you of camps for displaced persons,

detainment camps,

refugee camps.

she tells you of people worn out but clinging to life

of people smugglers pocketing their money, pointing to the sea:

“you go that way and freedom.”

eyes glisten.

they don’t know the blue hell that’s facing them.

some, however, do.

for some this isn’t a first encounter with deep blue waters.

some bodies are really vessels of faith.

About the author

Sumaya Ugas is now in her first semester at McGill, studying towards a double major in International Development Studies and Political Science. A lover of words, she is constantly carrying a novel (or three) and writing. She is currently working on a collection of short pieces of fiction.

About the illustrator

Veronica Giannini is a graduate from the Illustration and Design program. The themes she explores the most in her work are advertising, and branding. She loves creating artwork with a variety of different mediums ranging from digital to traditional ones. However, her preferred mediums are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, mixed media, markers, and charcoal. She is motivated to always work hard at what she does, and to accomplish it very well.

In the future, along with being a freelancer and continuing her studies in Graphic Design, Veronica aspires to become a storyboard artist, or an advertising illustrator.


  1. space-default-avatar


    November 24, 2014

    Wow! This poem is really captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. Having read the description, I thought it was just another story of illegal(?) immigration gone wrong. As I was reading the poem, it became much more than simply a story about hundreds of people dying in this world, which happens every second and is all that can be seen on the news. It became a story that I felt touched and affected by and it made me think about my ignorance towards the great, big, terrifying world that lives outside my own; about my fortune and my grandiose ambitions for the future, non of which involve dying in an attempt to create a new and better life for myself. I love the descriptions and examples of dashed hopes and broken dreams by the promises of greedy people who know what fate awaits them amidst the dark waters. If a mother really tells her children the realities of the world, she is a rarity and a revelation.Your writing is beautiful and the way you described some scenes was very poignant. Congratulations on a lovely poem that I will likely add to my journal of fascinating quotes and poems.

You have to be registered and logged in in order to post comments!