Refugees : outside Europe (revised)

Voting with their feet, choked of breath
in trailing sheets of dust or reeking trucks,
displaced humans torn in diaspora driven
onto miles of razor wire and cancelled trains
policed by phalanxed men in uniform –
our men on task, defending us and safety
against them:  people altogether like us
but frightened, losing, born elsewhere,
who’ve become infected by disorder
and bad luck and tainted by the zealots
who have destroyed their lives.
Incidentally, to a cause.

Resources spent on murky routes of passage
from chaos and camps and ritual beheadings
to somehow reach our cool uncertain welcome,
they bear ordeals of hope dismayed and
innocents abandoned to lunatic simplicities,
that saw two children drowned in the Aegean
recast in grief as images of savage pity,
icons of suffering humanity washed ashore
from fragile night-time boats that failed to cross,
clear voices silenced in the debris of the desperate
by a devastating wager with the mafia and the sea.
Impotent, except goodwill.


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