A wild idea

This past Monday at the refugee center was cold and gray, but at least it wasn’t raining. We take what we can get with the weather in January in Belgium. The previous week, we had spread out dozens of sheets of paper with poems and songs from the previous two years and taped them all together to make a magic carpet of music. This week, we kept it simple and spent time singing songs with adults and many enthusiastic children.

The first song we sang was one I wrote many years ago when I was living and working in Lowell, Massachusetts. I wrote “In the light of justice” from the words of a speech presented by emancipated slave Frederick Douglass in Lowell in 1894. We handed out rhythm instruments and sang in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; as a means of expressing gratitude for all those who have and continue to fight for freedom; and also as a way to send love and hope out into the ethos for all those seeking freedom for themselves and their families.

The song is one that we have been working on for an upcoming event in Brussels called Interlitratour. It is an effort to blend migration and creativity, and we will be offering a songwriting workshop and sing-a-long. We wanted to write a welcome song to share at the event, and we have taken to calling the song “A wild idea.”

These are the lyrics to the song:

Here’s an idea

A wild idea

What if we open the door?

What a pleasure to meet you

we’re on our way to

a place without any walls


Pas de porte

Pas de passeport

We are all passing through

Pas de porte

Pas de passeport

Can I open the door for you?

Here’s an idea

A wild idea

Anyone can begin

It doesn’t take much

A smile, a touch

To let the stranger in


Here’s an idea

A wild idea

Every person is somebody’s child

Another idea

A wilder idea

Every person is everyone’s child


Why can’t I go where I want to go?

Why do you close the door?

If we’re all worth the same then

Why is your life worth so much more?

Come into the space

Where you can breathe

Look at the world anew

We’re in it together

Breathe the same air

I can share this world with you, with you

So here’s an idea

A wild idea

These words can change the world

You are welcome, welgekomen

Will you come in?

Willkommen, Bienvenue


I think the song may still be a bit on the long side, but it was very fun to sing it while encircled by children shaking egg shakers with vigorous zeal while laughing and smiling with smiles that filled their faces with joy.

Here is the link to our songwriting workshop, which we will offer at the Fedasil Arrival Centre where we volunteer each Monday afternoon, rain, shine, sleet, snow.

This is the original video of the song “In the light of justice,” which I wrote to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington in the United States.

This a video of Sarah and me singing “In the light of justice” at the Fedasil Arrival Centre in Brussels, Belgium.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Retini Dunleavy says:

    Hi there Marieke,
    Thanks so much for your stories which are inspiring to read. Hope to get to Belgium one of these days and meet you all!
    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Retini! Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Looking forward to our paths hopefully crossing very soon 🙂

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