Open Our Eyes

Posted by Jenny on May 17, 2015 in Snapshot, Snippets, View Point |

I wrote this poem about a month ago – when some politicians in Europe were calling for a ’stop the boats’ policy like Australia’s of huge numbers refugees dying at sea after fleeing among other things the ravages of ISIS. Thankfully, Europe rejected the idea of turning refugees back to the killing fields. Now, it seems that countries in southeast Asia have decided to actually do it – so that refugees fleeing terror are left to starve at sea.

Stop the Boats

So now they cry
‘Stop the boats’
as hundreds die
and sink beneath choppy waves
crowding Italian graves
desperate souls seeking hope
flooding the sea lanes
fearing for their lives.

As blood stained fanatics
spread out their nets
and murder with intent
to incite disorder and terror
and corporate giants
reap rich profits
off the backs of men and women
gleaning a scant living
in their strife torn lands.

We stir the pot
and skim the profits
content to swallow
slave-tended beans
and wear slave-tended fads
consuming cheap luxuries
while slamming the door
on those who dare
transgress our borders.

Let’s open our eyes
and open our hearts
give welcome and aid
but better yet
fair reward for honest labour
so people no longer
feel constrained to flee
their mother lands.

Jeanette O’Hagan 22 April 2015

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  • I love this version, Jenny. I’m just not sure about the constrained part. I can see constrained to their mother lands or constrained in their mother lands but constrained to flee sounds like a contradiction to me. Is there another subtle meaning I am missing? So sad for the refugees stranded and risking their lives.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Catherine

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I can see your point in that ‘constrain’ often means to ‘restrict’ but it can also mean ‘to compel’ or ‘force’ which was how I was using it

    I’ll give it some thought.


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