Tears and tickets

Their ticket to leave was
their hollow eyes,
shrapnel, a toddlers coffin and
the black milk served at dusk

They left with passports signed
by muzzle flames and rape.
They carried bundles tied with strings of tears

We watched them coming;

waves of flesh, crossing rivers, seas
on foot, in boats, in cars.
Inflated life-wests moored.
We called them migrants, terrorists,
refugees at best.

But we closed the doors and said:
“We need your papers not your scars.”
We tore their tickets, named them fake
and thought the sunset looked like blood.

The house of death by William Blake

For Fireblossom’s prompt at toads.

January 4, 2018

19 responses to “Tears and tickets

  1. Bjorn, heartbreaking and true – passports paid for with blood and rape and unimaginable suffering – and then they arrive somewhere else and are not embraced or comforted. What a species we are. This is an important poem. Thanks for reminding us. This is happening every day.

  2. Heartbreaking, Bjorn. I like the sparse but powerful details of
    ‘their hollow eyes,
    shrapnel, a toddlers coffin and
    the black milk served at dusk’;
    ‘They carried bundles tied with strings of tears’;
    ‘waves of flesh, crossing rivers, seas’;
    and
    ‘We tore their tickets, named them fake
    and thought the sunset looked like blood’..

  3. Powerful and evocative. What strikes me is that your description is fitting for any age or circumstance of diaspora. You remind us of the human element very well.

  4. It takes an effort for me to shift gears from poetry appreciation to acceptance of the reality of people in the dire plight described here. I think that effort is worthwhile. Thank you Bjorn.

  5. This is incredibly heart-wrenching but true. It takes a lot of courage to be able to write a poem as powerful as this. Beautifully executed.

  6. Pingback: Tears and Tickets – SEO·

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