Is it still Aleppo now that it’s flattened into anonymous rubble?
How much more destruction can it take before it is seen to be destroyed?
Horror upon horror dulls the senses until the little children
Covered in grey dust, fighting to breathe become commonplace
To our eternal shame.
This war, the warlords say, will go on – maybe ten years more.
For what? This whole frightening idiocy must be stopped
Before the population comprises grey dusted people,
Limbless, sightless, immobile, buried under giant piles of man-made debris.
What use is Politics when this is the result?
Regimes fight Regimes for control while all around
Their people are dying. Listen to the terrible wailing of the bereaved
Trying to make sense of the indefensible.
And the bombing goes on, and the gassings go on, and the dying goes on
And the lost youth with nothing left to live for
With deadened senses don their home-made suicide vests
And hope for happiness in another world.
The boy, aged five years, his eyes staring unseeing
At horrors unknown
His hands stained with the blood of his bleeding scalp
Sits as still as death
While the chaos rages around him
And we watch and weep as the bombs fly and buildings collapse
In another place, another time
And the little boy sits. As still as death.
He stares resigned at the only life he has ever known
While the West discovers another icon
Until we turn the page, change the channel,
Open another bottle of wine –
And the boy, aged five years,
Wipes his bloodied hands on his orange chair
In the back of the ambulance and sits
As still as death, staring at his future,
A survivor, one of the lucky ones.
The man said no worry, we’d be okay,
I wanted to know how much we’d pay
He said five thousand, you pay today.
We broke the bank, found all we had
Said goodbye to the cat, the children were sad
I told them, when we got there they would be glad.
We paid the money and climbed into the boat
We had all our possessions and I’d left a note
For the landlord to find when we were afloat
I said Allah would help us, my husband would work
We had nothing to fear, we would not be back
Our spirits were high as we left our shack.
It all went so smoothly, the sea was like glass
But somewhere in the middle this came to pass
The wind and the rain turned the seas to wet death.
The night grew so black, the wind chased the stars
And the gusting and howling went on for hours
Our children were held tight in the cage of our arms.
There was weeping of women amid the cries of the men
The boat rolled to one side then rolled back again
We were sitting in vomit, ignoring our pain
As we crashed and we fell in that sodden Hell
Then my children, my babies, slipped out of my hold
And over the side into that ocean, so cold
And the screams of my darlings as “Mama!” they cried
Split the night, split my heart as my spirit died
My pleadings to Allah to save us, denied.
As the storming winds stopped, the rain faded away
That Wintry sun shone on a scene of dismay
On the waves of the ocean that terrible day.
My babies, all five, they were hidden from me
Though I cried and I screamed out to Allah “Oh Please
Bring my babies back, bring them back to me”.
Now I’ve reached the safety of these foreign shores
But I’m dead to this world and want nothing more
Than to go back to the ocean and hear the winds roar.
And I’ll enter the sea, and I’ll walk till I’m gone
For the lives of my children so cruelly torn
From my arms, for I wish I had never been born.
Don’t take your car to the carwash
It’s the new slave trade
And the lads who work in the carwash
Are their master’s slaves.
They work for a pittance, if they are lucky,
Sleep like dogs in whatever space they can find
While our ignorance of the life they lead
And the life they have left behind
Makes us as bad as the masters of old
Buying men the slave traders sold.
There is nothing so bad as to wash the cars
Of the people who drive while so blind
To the sufferings around them everywhere
As far as the eye can see
We step out from our comfortable homes to drive
To the Malls, to the shopping parades
Complaining of exhaustion while sipping tea
Not knowing or caring how it was made.
While the slaves in our towns are unseen, unknown
Carrying their sorrows in silence,
Writing unsent letters home “I am fine, I’ve a job,
Soon I’ll send money home, I’m so glad
I met a man from the motor trade.”
Ireland’s history, written in blood,
Proclaims its children an eager sacrifice
Oh Mother, dry your tears
Too many years of sacrifice
Many years of bloody cries
Oh Mother, close your eyes
To the screams of Ireland’s children
Born to die, or live exiled
Oh Mother, close your ears
In twenty sixteen, don’t turn back to those years
Have hope in your heart, not fear
Oh Mother, no more tears.
The now familiar explosions shake the city and
The pall of smoke rises this time over Brussels
The panicking crowds run blindly through
The blood soaked carnage hoping to be saved,
While the evil hate-filled clerics and their succubi
Sing praises to Allah, to the painful music of children’s cries.
The teddy bear mountain grows before the blood has dried
The candles are lit to bring comfort to the bereaved and the lost
Chalked messages of defiance appear again in yet another city’s streets
And social media once again erupts in a show of impotent solidarity.
While the futility of it all would make the heavens weep.
It’s a loop in my head, I can’t get rid of it
Round and round it goes on an infernal merry-go-round
The migrant crisis, look how they suffer
Don’t turn away now the camera doesn’t lie.
But wait. Now the migrants are not migrants.
They are predators, preying on our generosity, our soft hearts.
Their children, abandoned, orphaned, alone, are not children.
They are ‘men of fighting age’ who should go back to war
And defend their country.
They’ll rape our daughters, rob us blind and
Treat with disrespect our elderly.
I read, and read, and read the news for changes.
Still they come. Crossing the seas in unsafe boats,
Children carried in arms, wrapped in silver, like presents.
The children are so appealing, the adults less so.
So they send the children first, every child a Trojan horse
Hiding many behind their pathetic childish frames.
It’s a deadly game with no winners.
Each terrible dawn breaking on another terrible day
And we hope and pray but still it goes on and
The loop in my head goes round and round and round.
This green and pleasant land of riches
Draws the poorest to its shores
Who then discover the greatest lie,
There’s no welcome and the gates
Of this nirvana are closed, the promises
Of last years politics turned to dust.
So, disaffected and unwanted they huddle
These shabby masses, claiming our green spaces,
Ungrateful for the little they are given, wanting more.
Their ways are not our Western ways.
We turn our heads and close our eyes
Until the simmering rages spill over
And who is right and who is wrong becomes
Impossible to know.
Once more we push back, against the tides
Calling for our soldiers, armed to the teeth, to
Fight men armed with sticks and stones, until
Driven back, repulsed, repelled, they sail the seas,
Walk the roads, traverse the mountains – they are unstoppable,
This ragged mass of human flotsam, searching for the humanity
We appear to have lost.
We are walking walking walking
Along the road to nowhere
And we never seem to reach a spot
Where people care
So we’ll go on walking walking walking
Till we fall.
We’ve left the land that spawned us
Left behind the war and pain
We’ve reached the land that spurns us
So we turn, and walk again
We’ll go on walking walking walking
Till we fall.
Through the dark and lonely night times
Through the dire and dreadful days
When the children and the old folk
Drop and fall
We will chant our ancient hymnal
In a language of our own
As the stones and other missiles
break our bones
We’ll go on walking walking walking
Till we fall
We are people of the earth
Brothers, sisters of the race
We didn’t choose this lifestyle
Nor would you
We need to stop the endless searching
Make our homes and settle down
And we plead with you our brothers
Make a space
Or we go on walking walking walking
Till we fall.
Her face accuses
Dirty hands clenched into fists
Determined mouth, set against tears
Too much knowledge in this youngster’s eyes
Her wariness tells of too many years
Saying No man No don’t shoot
I’ll remember you