HAIKUS 53-62

The fisherman hears
screaming that at first he thinks
is seagulls screeching.

He follows the sound
with his fishing boat to a
nightmare scene from hell:

the flailing bodies,
of drowning migrants, whose boat
has sunk, deep below.

Saving all he can
he wrenches the bow around
and heads back, homewards,

for Lampedusa,
his tiny boat, just afloat,
with its heavy load.

And those left behind
swap their hopes for despair and
gulp down sea for air.

Reaching the harbour
he lands his wailing cargo,
then turns back, alone,

into silent seas,
where vainly he searches the
bleak, black, emptiness…

…returning later
to a shore that will never
feel like home again,

where border police
process the survivors and
lock them in prison.


3 thoughts on “HAIKUS 53-62

  1. It’s a very emotive issue on all sides of the question of immigration intake. Yes we do have a responsibility for the poor wherever they are as citizens of the world, and yes governments do have a responsibility to protect those who are under their citizenship. I’ve travelled the world over 30 years and can assure you that there is a stark difference between cultures that can be destructive if not managed in a host culture. You’ve seen that on the streets of London and we’ve been introduced to the issue in Sydney this past week. Unless there is a process of cultural understanding and assimilation. I know you don’t believe in borders but think of what would happen to you if terrorists were able to go where they pleased without any form of control. Kindness will not change their mentality. This in no way minimizes our responsibility to help them in their own culture where that need arises, and having had a lot to do with NGO’s this is happening as much as funds are available.

  2. I think we probably have far more overlap in our views than disagreement. The no borders thing isn’t going to happen soon, because I am sure there would be far too much resistance. So the focus needs to be on finding humane and fair ways of processing sanctuary seekers and the balance of power in the world. I’m all for helping people in their home countries too if that can be done in a way that is safe for them .
    I also agree about the importance of a process of cultural understanding an assimilation that you mention.
    I’m not convinced that strict border controls is the way to stop terrorism though – and think the solution is more complex and has to do with the development of intra-national tolerance and assistance. I’m not surprised that many are hostile to the west given our track record of colonialism, exploitation, war and meddling in the polities of other countries – and I believe that a significant proportion of the small number of terrorists are a consequence of this appalling track record in international affairs. To really turn things around we are going to have to clean our act up, compensate for past injustices, and start conducting ourselves with greater morality around the world, and, yes, I’m not ashamed to say that kindness should be a part of this. I don’t believe this is naive – I think it is essential if we are to eventually turn things around – though there is a great deal of work to do and it will take a long time to address the damage that has already been done.
    Sadly even then there will still probably be nutters that do things like the appalling thing that happened in Sydney. We may never stop that kind of thing completely but I think we can reduce its incidence in the way described. The problem at the moment is that psychopathic murderers can find mainstream support for their activities because of (partly valid) hostility and resentment in their home countries towards the west that has built up on account of our actions over many centuries. We can never stop the individual nutters but we can begin to address some of the reasons that they get helped and encouraged.
    My sincere condolences by the way to you for the awful tragedy in your country.

  3. I’d call this piece a poem not a string of Haiku even if each verse is the correct number of syllables. It is moving poem as you paint a pretty miserable scene. I enjoyed Ian and your exchange and have little to add to you two giants’ discussion. My two bits is that I believe that the decrease in the birthrate in affluent countries will eventually change governments’ attitudes towards immigration and eventually result in open borders. Just as slavery had to go so will borders, even if it may take 50 to 100 ears!

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