• Refuge Online Journal

Two Poems on the City of Contrasts

Caroline Stewart


Walk in my Shoes




Love, grace and forgiveness


Let this be the hallmark and desire of our hearts.

To place ourselves in the shoes of those that walk through our doors and enter our lives.


Those shoes might carry sadness. They may carry grief. Some shoes

may struggle to walk at all. Let us be their guiding light.


Sometimes a shoe, though polished and bright, hides a broken soul.

Let us guide them to Christ.


Illness and trouble may cause many shoes to stumble and lose their way.

May we guide these shoes to the foot of the cross.


Let every person we encounter leave our presence knowing something more

Of the grace, love and forgiveness that only Christ gives.





Dundee - A City of Contrasts

written while walking along Dundee's waterfront




Much has changed, but much has stayed the same.


I am slowly meandering along the waterfront of dundee. The day is

still, the Tay is calm, and it is a never-ending story. The sun reflects

pools of light along the softly flowing current, glistening as a gentle

breeze blows through my hair.


It's a city of contrasts, my city. A bustling V&A welcomes its visitors,

old and young, from near and far as it sits grand and proud on the

water. Admired and exalted by many. A jewel in the heart of the city,

that dazlles all who walk by.


This is but a small glimpse of where I call home. The picture, almost

perfect, is not, however, a true reflection of this historical city,

famous in the past for so many wonderful achievements and industries.


Move a little further from this beautiful waterfront and this breathtaking

sculpture. As you walk, this vibrant, colourful picture of bustling

prosperity slowly fades away, and if you listen and look carefully,

you will hear the heart of the city cry out in the making of day.


It's clear to see the hopelesness, the fear, the longing in the eyes

of many who live here. Drugs, alcohol, depression and illness are clear to see.

Despair and loneliness fill the heart of its many weary souls.


They call out silently to anyone with time to care, to talk.

For them the future is gone, all hope is gone.


Those who stop and listen will hear a sad story told many times over.

There is a desperation that fills the air. But surely, there must always be hope.

Maybe there is and maybe it will come. This is my prayer,


a prayer for the city who must never stop hoping.


But who will listen, who has time to care? The clock ticks relentlessly,

almost cruel, a reminder that Dundee has no time to waste,

for much time is a luxury the city hasn't got. It's days will be few.


One precious life after another silently says goodbye.

Have we even noticed? Does it no longer matter?


Where are those whose hearts beat hard for Dundee?

for the oppressed, for those who burden is unbearable;

their hands are always ready for action.


The need is so great, so vast, an army is required,

and a willing army is needed.


Dundee, where is your heart, where is its beat? you who

sit majestic and proud, the river Tay your golden cloak.

You who shout loud your achievements across the globe.


Where are you? The city is crying. Tears are running down its streets,

pools of despair, visible only to those who look down,

those with eyes to see.






Caroline Stewart is a Dundee-based poet, having lived and studied in the city for the last forty years. Caroline writes with a growing passion for the justice and welfare of woman and children. Her work often draws inspiration from her Christian faith - a devotion that continues to grow as she pursues opportunities to walk in the peace and fulfilledness Christ brings to his ever-changing world. Caroline's poems reflect life as she sees it; some are more serious in nature, but many carry with them the humor that makes people smile and laugh with hope.

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