If you put to sea in these boats,
most likely you will die,
you will never make Italy,
you will barely make the news,
unless you wash ashore on a tourist beach,
spoiling the panorama,
with inconvenient truths.
The rising tide of the right,
creeping into the edges of Europa,
still like to wear good looking suits,
whipping up headlines,
serves them for now,
yet they remain ever eager
to slip the leash again.
The tide must be stemmed,
from both sides of the shifting seas,
never turn the cheek to fascism,
they’ll gladly use democracy,
to seek its eradication,
they did it once before,
80 million people died.
by Ruairí de Barra
Kindly published in Live Encounters Magazine in their Special 10th Anniversary Edition, Volume II, December 2019. You can read the four poems in this special volume on the Live Encounters website or download a free .pdf copy just by clicking here.
Live Encounters is a wonderful publication and all of its issues, as well as special editions, may be found on its website at https://liveencounters.net/
I would like to thank Mark Ulyseas for seeing fit to include my work again in the same pages of some truly talented people.
‘These words are not just my own experiences, they are also the stories & memories of my friends and colleagues. The crew of LÉ Eithne whom I was privileged to be part of rescued nearly 3,600 people in 64 days in 2015. The Irish Naval Service since that first mission has rescued over 18,000 people. These poems are also the stories of the migrants and refugees, in particular, these are written in memory of those poor people who never made it. They lie along the trail of bones in the desert or were lost at sea. I write these words to say that I saw you and that none of us will forget you.”