IN THE MURK

Private people, political pawns
Scratching for survival on the barren plains.
Tufts of autumn grasses, scraggly skeleton trees
A frozen mist of grey
descends on them all.

Flickering flames fight for life
beneath four large twigs
crossed unevenly above
the mound of ashes.

Vacant eyes stare despairingly.
The route to freedom pushes back
Behind them an equally determined force
hems them in. No return to civilisation.

Trapped, the human hostages wait.
For Life. Or for Death.

As usual the world watches on.
Albeit through distorted crackly images
sent from the migrants’ phones.
The Press refused entry by both sides.

In the glare of publicity, but not.
In our sights, but not.

Days become nights.
Tens of migrants become hundreds.
Hundreds turn to thousands.

In an area bereft of anything
There is even less than nothing.

The masses gather
at hastily slung up rolls of barbed wire.

The Border.

Words are thrown through the
gaping holes of mesh,
Stones are hurled across the countries.
SNIP SNAP.
Shears ineptly
attack the coiled boundary.

15,000 official soldiers ahead.
Unknown army thugs to the rear.
2,000 imprisoned, homeless, unrepresented.
No voice. No advocate.

Humanity at its basest.

As the verbose political volleys
a
re strewn across the air waves,
As political threats are met by counter-threats
People Die. All hope diminished.

Resolutions are passed in amiable assemblies
Discussions continued over replete repasts.
Morsels from these luncheon tables
But a dream to the
Trapped.

Flown in by a malfeasant country
on the wings of promises,
of easy access to the West, of bright futures.

However much one might question
such nativity. The truth remains:
No one leaves their home for uncertainty.
No one endures such hardship.
Without real and absolute cause.

As the hoards gather in the frozen murk
Ghostly beings wander the earth
Human beings abandoned by the world.

For once, why not take the high ground?
For once, why not do what is morally right?

Let governments continue their wrangling,
Let world organisations issue
their impotent irresolute decrees
.

For NOW

At the border, save the people.
Allow orderly documented entry
From there seek the best way forward.

For NOW

May humanity take a step forward,
Through the murk, across the wire.

©Annika Perry, November 2021

110 thoughts on “IN THE MURK

  1. A poignant poem, which I read with a feeling of hopelessness. I personally don’t think there will be an end to refugees. The countries they leave are economically ruined, very often by the governments who rule them. It takes years and years to rebuild a plundered country. South Africa has also seen massive corruption in all departments and it is a mammoth task by our current president to try and save what the previous president ruined. Long story, but I will not go there now.

    1. Caroline, I fear you are right and that these tragic scenes will be repeated around the world far into the future. It will always be heartbreaking and one despairs and feels such deep sadness. I have read and followed the news a little from South Africa and feel for you all in the midst of the country’s massive and overwhelming problems.

      It’s lovely to connect with you across WP and I value your thoughts here. Thank you!

  2. This is such a complicated issue, Annika! I don’t want to sound political, but for anyone who migrates to a country foreign to them, they would need complete support for years before standing on their feet. The countries that receive them would have to expand services to meet their needs. Do they have resources, trained personnel, and adequate shelters for them? I don’t know.
    This is a global issue, not just pertaining to the US. I don’t know if any country is ready to have a door wide open to welcome all who come. The people who cross the border may come faster than the receiving countries are ready for.
    I read Robbie’s comment. It could happen to any country. Once people crossed the border, before they can stand on their feet, anything could cause their desperate behavior.

    Thank you for raising such an important issue. I would love to see your poem being read to world leaders.

    1. Miriam, thank you so much for your insightful thoughts and reflections on this incredibly complicated and global issue. Alas, there is no simple answer but a willingness of leaders to start addressing this within their own countries and beyond would be a big help. Oh, it would be incredible if our voices would be heard … and listened to!

  3. A heart-breaking issue, which could be applied to unfortunately more than 1 place in the world. Thank you for giving voice to the pain in such a terrible & beautiful way.

    1. Ju-Lyn, you are right and these problems are seen across the world in different ways. That was one reason I hesitated over posting this … that it would seem to put one trouble above another which was never the case. Your comment and reflections mean a lot – thank you. May there be solutions found for all those in need and suffering. x

      1. I have long thought about & struggled with this – whether it is right to talk about one’s own struggles when there are others so much worse off than oneself. But I have decided that when one is in distress, it is just that. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, and if sharing the expression of those feelings can help anyone in anyway at all, so be it.

        So, I am very glad you did. I know you wrote it with a very specific situation in mind, but I see so much universality in it.

  4. There is so much turmoil around the globe. There are so many people trying to find new home countries. The answers to problems of this magnitude are not easy to find and not easy to administer. I hope that calm and steady heads prevail.

    1. Neil, how true and I agree that one can but hope that the leaders and governments in charge will rule with calmness and steadiness as these overwhelming times are only likely to worsen.

  5. I wish your poem could be read across the universe. In every country. And in every newspaper and magazine. May it open the hearts of all. May we humanize ourselves and bring kindness and understanding to those who have nothing and are only seeking a home and respite. 🙏💜

    1. Pam, I’m speechless! Your words here touch me to the core and it means so much that you feel this, believe this. May it indeed be one day that such humanity, kindness and understanding sweep across the globe. hugs xx❤️

  6. THIS…mostly affecting, Annika! The world is getting murkier and murkier, day by day. My heart cries too for all who find themselves in this predicament, and through no fault of their own. May we continue to fight for justice, with our pens. Thank you for “speaking” so candidly.

    1. Khaya, thank you so much for your extraordinary comment and for sharing your thoughts. I was compelled to write the poem, my heart cried so much and it means a lot that you see this as being part of the fight for justice. It is hard to feel impotent and helpless in these situations. After consideration, I decided to post here. One hopes for light in the murkiness, for kindness and warmth in the bitterness and cold. ❤️

    1. Natalie, thank you so much and your comment means so much. In a world where we often feel we can help so little I needed to express my intense emotions, hoping they will touch others too. xx

    1. Absolutely, Mary Ann! Alas, it seems to have been the case since time immemorial. Yes, a tough poem and one I shared with trepidation – unfounded – and so heartened by the comments. Yours means a lot to me … thank you. xx

  7. So well said. Your words should be heard by those in power, oh wait, that’s us, really. Do we have the will to make our governments act fairly? The powerful have so much stored up in opposition: resources, willing accomplices, resistance to change. But change has to start with us.

    1. Mary, thank you for your profound observation and one I’ve reflected on as well. In the midst of deep feelings of impotence, the ability to change things lies with all of us … yet it never seems to be quite that easy. In the UK there is a huge sense of disillusionment with all the political parties with limited options. Changes are on the way – I hope at least!

  8. An epic poetic rendering of today’s (and history’s) state of humanity…As you know,this is a multifaceted subject near and dear to my heart…and I’m not at all surprised to see this lyric piece coming forth from your (he)art.
    Thank you Annika – the world is better because you care.

    1. Laura, bless you for your wonderful and caring comment – with such compassion and kindness as yours the world can not help but become a better place! Wow! I’m touched by your reference to my poem as epic – your whole comment touches me deeply – thank you! ❤️

    1. Exactly, Andrea! Our sense of helplessness is heightened by the lack of help from those in a position to do something! A poem which was written from the heart, at the time I was concerned it was too impassioned but from your and others comments, I feel reassured it struck the right chord. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts – it means a lot to me. xx

  9. Mike

    Unfortunately you are spot on Annika. Until politicians stop playing games with peoples lives I fear that change will be very slow, if at all. Too much posturing and very little action. We can only hope that things will change for the best and that the EU take the humanitarian approach and let these people in asap – and then tighten sanctions even more.

    Mike

    1. Thanks for asking, Cheryl and for remembering! My eyes are still stable and they will only look at an operation when much worse. Good luck with Robert’s appointment and hope he gets an operation time soon – it must be very difficult for you both. hugs xx

  10. A powerful poem spotlighting the misery of displaced persons worldwide. Civilization is supposed to be moving forward, but these situations prove we are still pretty uncivilized! Thank you, Annika, for writing about people whose suffering deserves to be noticed and who deserve our support. ❤

    1. Cheryl, I felt so much for these people and was especially struck by their loss of voice, that this is hidden away … hence my poem! Oh one despairs at times about the notion of civilization and the reality seems far removed in situations like this – yet I’m much heartened at other times, thankfully. Your insightful and wise words are very much appreciated! hugs xx ❤️

  11. Behind the Story

    It’s so sad! Annika. I fear that these sad migrant stories will be with us for years and years to come—some of them migrants from wars and tyrants, others from the droughts, floods, and fires caused by climate change.

  12. This leaves me in tears, Annika. How desperate and how disregarded these people are. Other comments have noted your lines: “No one leaves their home for uncertainty / No one endures such hardship / Without real and absolute cause.” And the sentiment, that these people should just go home, demonstrates the callousness of those who don’t care and don’t want to understand. The real tragedy of our time is the utter lack of compassion. Hugs.

    1. Diana, your last sentence is a punch of truth in all this misery – ‘the real tragedy of our time is the utter lack of compassion’. The callousness came over me and this was a piece I had to write – and shared with some trepidation. It is beyond sad, beyond the rational. It means a lot how those lines from my poem have touched you deeply – a discussion I’ve had with others verbally and I’m glad to have articulated my thoughts in writing. xx

      1. You’ve struck a chord with so many others who feel this heartbreak and frequently feel helpless as the wheels of government grind down those without power. I truly believe that compassion is the answer to every national and global problem. If we, as a collective world, just cared, our power would be limitless. I love your poem and your compassion. Hugs.

  13. Annika, you wrote beautifully about a large, sad and complicated issue. I agree with Rosaliene that as the environment becomes worse many people will suffer and look for a solution for their families. We need to figure out how to help people with real life solutions and not support the violence and greed of some of the world leaders.

    1. Just so, Bernadette! Doesn’t it beggar belief, when it really is that simple, that so many don’t get it? How come that violence and greed still hold sway over so many lives? It means a lot to me that you read my piece and thank you for sharing your insightful thoughts.

    1. Donna, the more people that join in asking for that step forward to humanity the bigger its impact – compassion and kindness has to have a chance. Your words mean a lot to me and this was a piece I had to write – first for myself as I felt overwhelmed with emotion and then with consideration decided to share here.

  14. Annika, thanks for raising this issue in such an eloquent way ❤ The number of refugees worldwide will only grow as our climate and environmental crises intensify. It's just a matter of time before I will be numbered among them.

    1. Rosaliene, it means a lot that you heard eloquence in my impassioned piece — it was one I just had to write as emotions nearly overwhelmed me. I fear you are right that for numerous reasons the refugee crises will only worsen – I hope they meet more compassion and kindness than these people.

      Rosaliene, I am shocked and saddened to read your last sentence – I hope this is not true. I have no idea of your circumstances although reading your biography see you’ve lived on three continents and hopefully found a peaceful settlement in America. Wishing you well and security. x

        1. Rosaliene, phew … I’m glad you and your family are personally okay. I do follow the news and blog posts regarding California and the disasters seem
          unprecedented, worsening every year. Big sigh …

  15. Oh, Annika. Your words capture the pain in your heart, and it breaks mine reading them. I can’t believe I live in a world that treats fellow humans with such disdain and disregard for their well-being. I wish everyone understood these words below:

    However much one might question
    such nativity. The truth remains:
    No one leaves their home for uncertainty.
    No one endures such hardship.
    Without real and absolute cause.

    I remain hopeful that one day, things will be different and that suffering will cease to exist. Thank you for being you. You are a beautiful soul. ❤️

    1. Tanya, your beautiful, insightful and thoughtful comment touches me deeply – thank you. Our hearts cry with the pain and suffering in the world but far better so than not to feel the agony. As you say the ‘disdain and disregard’ of many is unfathomable. Yes, here is to hope of a different world, one where compassion, care and kindness is at the forefront of action and minds … particularly those who can make a difference.

      Wishing you all well. xx ❤️

  16. Annika, such an important poem in our times. Your words:
    No one leaves their home for uncertainty.
    No one endures such hardship.
    Without real and absolute cause.
    These words ought to be on a banner at every border where there are migrants.
    Thank you, Annika, for voicing such an important message. Hopefully someone with power will listen and take action.

    1. Wouldn’t that be something, Carol?! That these words could be seen at all borders where there are similar crises. That these words would reach into the hearts of those on the ground and also politicians far away. Oh, I hope someone will listen to the ever louder desperate cry for help. Carol, it means a lot that you see this as an important poem – totally out of my comfort zone and unlike anything I’ve ever written but an impassioned piece that demanded to be written. xx

    1. Brad, your comment means so much to me and I appreciate this tragedy touches you and others deeply. It was a piece I was compelled to write as I was overcome with emotions at the unfolding scenes and story. I just wish I could do more – that my words and emotions could reach those with the power to make a difference.

    1. Kamal, there is no bigger compliment that your last sentence – thank you. Reality and truth often seem to be malleable to people’s / country’s own perceptions; the rhetoric powerful, the cost loss of compassion. Your thoughts mean a lot to me and it’s encouraging how many feel the same.

    1. Darlene, at first I considered sending it out somewhere but I was uncertain where a poem like this would be accepted. A great idea to send it to a politician and I will do just that! Our local MP is one I actually respect (there aren’t many!). I appreciate your suggestion and kind comment.

  17. You’re brave to find words that give witness to this ever growing tragedy.
    Political pawns, yes, in the way countries wrangle over who or what is to be held responsible. What will it take to force global action on migration, which, everyone knows will increase with further rapid weather changes, when many more areas will become uninhabitable and its people face failing systems, lack of hope, lack of water and starvation.
    This unstoppable situation needs tons of intelligent technologies and global resources.
    I’m poor by western standards but feel a pang of guilt every time I buy something I don’t really need.
    we must all consume
    or become superfluous
    obstructing progress
    … enough of this trend
    let’s call it saturation

    1. Ashen, the courage was not in writing the poem, that was almost an inevitability as soon as I started it, rather I was hesitant about sharing it here … anywhere. I wasn’t sure of the reaction it would provoke and it is profoundly different to my usual posts. Yet, these emotions and thoughts refused to lay dormant. Thank you so much for reading the poem, for your thought-provoking comment and for joining the discussion of this global problem /catastrophe. Your final lines show that awareness of these issues and our own responsibility to our planet is becoming ever more acknowledged by more people and hopefully, that way we can make a real difference.

  18. Such a heartfelt and thought-provoking poem. In the US, the politicians are too focused on furthering their own political ambitions and power to give a thought to the suffering that has led so many refugees to our borders.

    1. Liz, sadly I don’t think it’s just the politicians in the US – this seems a worldwide phenomenon of some of those in power. May those who want to and have the power to change the course of so many lives finally be listened to and real action taken to end the eternal misery. Your first sentence means a lot to me as well- thank you. x

  19. Certainly food for thought, Annika. I can’t say much though as South Africa is full of refugees and migrants who have come from other African countries looking for brighter futures. There is no help for them here, the government can barely support our own people, and our schools can barely educate our own people. So they become beggars on the streets or criminals breaking into our homes, holding guns to our heads and stealing our possessions and even our lives. I have no answers.

    1. You bring reality to the discussion Robbie. Anyone not directly involved sees real people suffering and expects someone to do something, but if they suddenly found their local beach or lovely ancient woodland filled with hordes of refugees when they took their dog out for its daily walk they would be in a right panic. There is no answer.

      1. I think the answer, Janet, is to help people rebuild their countries and economies so that they can live safely and happily again. People from Zimbabwe living in South Africa would rather live in their own country, but there is nothing there for them. It takes huge money though…

    2. Robbie, there are countless such tragic scenarios around the world – the most recent one has been heartbreaking to watch as it occurred for sheer political motives.

      I feel for you and everyone in South Africa and the dire circumstances. It must be a frightening place to live in. Has it always been so or is this in recent years? Were you at one time considering moving back to Suffolk? Are you still looking at this option?

      How true that in most migration crises the solution would be to ‘to help people rebuild their countries and economies so that they can live safely and happily again’. Yes, the cost would be huge and if the problem is down to war/unrest the leadership and political will have to be in place and take control.

      An interesting discussion that could delve much deeper and longer.

      1. HI Annika, there are lots of bad things in South Africa and the crime is very bad which is scary. Earlier this year we had rampant and uncontrolled looting and destruction that went on for nearly a week. Businesses were damaged and destroyed as well as shopping malls and warehouses. The bright side of that was watching how South Africans came together afterwards to clean up and attempt to rebuild and repair. There was support from unexpected people. It was rumoured that this was an attempted coup, if so if failed which is a good thing. We had planned to leave SA when my oldest son finished school at the end of this year. Jobs are hard to come by in the current environment and there is so much turmoil in the UK, I’m not sure it is a good destination for us any more. I am well aware that the grass is not always greener elsewhere so we will see how things evolve over the next few months. Greg can start university here at a very good institution as the UK uni’s only start in August in any event.

        1. Robbie, I appreciate you sharing about events in SA and always want to learn more. It is a major decision moving countries, let alone continents … you will know when things feel right. Good luck to Greg on his new path in life, very exciting for him … and you all! Will he be moving to live at univeristy? What will he be studying? You’re right about UK universities and effectively their teaching does not start until the first week in October!

          1. Hi Annika, Greg will live at home while he attends the local university [his choice]. That will most probably change when we move abroad. Something new is on the horizon which may change our destination. He is going to study a Bachelor of Science – IT.

  20. “No one leaves their home for uncertainty.” So right you are! No one leaves the familiar, without real and absolute cause.
    How much longer can these poor people stay standing under these conditions? How did we get here?
    Thanks for writing this to draw awareness about these poor brothers and sisters’ plight. Breaks my heart.

    1. Selma, bless you for your warm care and compassion. Indeed, how much longer can they prevail in these conditions as the political furore continues at a snail’s pace? Watching and reading about the events these past weeks my heart ached more and more for the people in this dire situation – writing was my only release for my emotions.

  21. Ah, Annika, what a powerful and beautiful poem. It tears at my heart as I read it over and over again. It is an important poem that carries the message to all
    human beings.
    I quote you:
    “ For NOW

    May humanity take a step forward,
    Through the murk, across the wire.”

    The physical wire and the wire that bind hearts from feeling and acting.
    The solution is difficult and easy but without will there is none.

    Thank you for sharing your strong compassion, I feel like you. ♥️.

    Miriam

    1. Miriam, bless you for your warmth, compassion and kindness in this poetic comment. It means so much to me that the poem has touched you so deeply. Wow! The barbed wire is just that, a physical presence and a metaphorical one in so many hearts. May the care and love of so many of us have an impact on those in power to make changes, to tear down the wire around those hearts. ❤️

    1. Janet, so true that these scenes are re-enacted across the globe in so many desperate scenarios. The numbers crossing to Dover has grown exponentially and no wonder the local authorities are overwhelmed. It should be an issue of the two countries working together.

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