Wednesday, 9 September 2015


Another poem in progress . . .

Everywhere is dust coloured,
everywhere is dust; swirls and eddies of wind
whirl it about, while shoes, for those who have them,
are outside quickly covered, and half filled inside.
Even the fabric of the rough tents
is more dust than cotton.

There is nothing green here. No tree grows,
no blade of grass, even. This was supposed to be
a transit camp, a pause along the way,
time to take stock, to plan the next step.
It does not feel like that now,
after so many days, so many dusty days.

There are no facilitators,
no manufacturers of passports and promises and hope.
They have gone. It is a common enough mistake:
having been paid up front, they are no doubt
repeating the exercise with a new crop
of wide-eyed and desperate pilgrims.

There is food, at least; not a lot, but enough.
It comes as a bargaining counter, or maybe a subtle threat:
we will feed you so long as you stay here,
and do not cross any further oceans,
or beg at our doors, or sleep in our streets.
This is as far as you get.

If you want to eat, this is as far as you get;
if you want your children to eat.
So the food comes dusted with condescending compassion,
carefully measured out, a ration of grudging kindness.
But we do not want compassion, but just to live,
free from fear, and not left to turn into dust.

No comments:

Post a Comment