On The Beach – A Poem

Inspired by recent events, and their portrayal in the media, one of our group members, Jean Hales, decided to summarise her feelings in verse. I think you will agree that the outcome is a very poignant poem.

On the Beach

I saw a picture in the Sunday paper

I thought it was a scene

From a disaster movie

You know the type I mean?

Where the hero, the product of the great American Dream

Saves the world on the brink of disaster

Which will only be safe when they are masters

But it wasn’t a movie it was true

It was a tragic item of news.

Wild fear, desperation in her eyes

She tries and tries

Hair matted, clothes in tatters

She struggles and splashes

Towards the beach

Praying that safety is within her reach.

She tries and tries

She’s travelled thousands and thousands of dangerous miles

Over deserts through towns in dust and heat

She’s fled from oppression

And become a victim of exploitation

She’s walked and hid and avoided arrest

And now she faces her final test.

Her energy is nearly gone

As waves crash around her

And a sea of bodies surround her

So many more

Screaming and struggling to reach the shore

To the safety of an alien land

Where there sits an ordinary Greek man

Relaxing in the warming sun

Sipping his coffee

In the safety and comfort of a Mediterranean cafe

No hesitation he jumps up and runs,

Not a thought from where they‘ve come

Just knowing they are human

In desperate need.

He jumps in the water at amazing speed

And sweeps her up in his strong pair of arms

And carries her to the beach fringed with palms

Over his shoulder she goes

To safety and hope or …. who knows?

While in the safety and comfort of far away isle

A person is watching with hard narrow eyes

I don’t care! She cries

They’re not like me

They are not the same

I’m not to blame

They’re cockroaches, vagrants , feral

They put my comfortable way of life in peril

Get gunships to send ‘em back

Or put them on the next flight

I don’t care about their plight

They’re not the same

I’m not to blame.

Terrorists! He says. They’ll all flood in

Stop the aid they’re not our problem

Stop the aid send ‘em home

Send them back from where they’ve come.

Back on the beach he lays her down

His selfless act has saved her life

She’s reached freedom from a country torn with strife

She sinks

She’s safe now.

She thinks

For a little while

Ignorant as yet of other people’s bile.

How have some people become so hard?

That with their ideological brush anyone seeking sanctuary is tarred

As feral, vagrants, on the make, a waste of space

Cos they are unlucky enough to be born in a war torn place

And they are not like us

They’re not the same

We’re not to blame

We’re alright it’s not our problem

Send em home from where they’ve come.

And back in that sceptred isle, that peaceful place

A child is born into a life of grace

A life of status, luxury, privilege prestige

Will unquestioningly be bestowed

On she who will never experience the plight of those

Who every day struggle to survive

With barely enough food to keep them alive.

Denied their human rights

They choose to take flight

And leave their country, their family their roots

to take their chance on an overcrowded boat.

But that’s the way of the world isn’t it?

Winners and losers life is chance

Some are born lucky some are not

Some have little some have a lot

Why should we bother about those with none?

They are not the same and we are not to blame

It’s been like that through all time hasn’t it?

That is life we can’t change it

We’re alright we’re not to blame

They are not the same.

Except that one man on that Greek isle

Has shown we are all the same

We’re all humans who want to live in peace

He’s shown us all a sense of humanity

To disgrace those sceptics with their vile profanities

‘But’ he says,

‘There was nothing brave

About fulfilling my duty

as human, as a man’

A lesson for those sceptics

Resting in a cocoon of apathy

Whose prejudices override basic humanity.

© Jean Hales, 2015

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