The issue of refugees is worldwide and one theme in my poetry is the contrast between our priveleged, mostly comfortable lives in the West and those of the poor and often exploited (for our benefit) in the Third World; and indeed often exploited and mistreated by their very own leaders, goverments and military. It is important that we are reminded of this and that we attempt to address the issue through our own lifestyles.
This poem has been published on the webzine, I am not a silent poet: https://iamnotasilentpoet.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/the-price-of-flight-by-david-urwin/
Please go to this site to view more poetry that addresses abuse of all kinds.
The price of flight
Kasim is nine years old.
The rebel soldiers cut his mother’s throat
in front of him.
They also kill his little sister
and his big brother
while he watches.
He flees his village.
When he is hungry
he asks people for food.
If they give him something, he eats. Otherwise
he stays hungry. He sleeps on the street.
At the peace conference
wine glasses shimmer
on the starched white cloth;
smoked salmon canapes
nestle in neat circles.
Nosiba is sixteen.
She has four sisters and three brothers.
The soldiers kill the brothers
in front of her.
They rape her sisters
and they rape her.
They shoot her father for trying to stop them.
Those who escape have to pay a broker
to cross the border.
She doesn’t have enough money
so sells her body
to the broker.
White limousines gleam
and cruise through the capital’s streets,
the generals’ uniforms creased
to a precise command.
Zahia is fifteen.
The soldiers arrive in her village
line up and shoot all the young men.
The houses are set alight.
She does not know where her parents are
or if they are dead or alive.
She escapes from the village with two other girls.
They walk barefoot through thorn scrub
for three or four days without food.
She wants to go home.
Beaches of gold and cities of culture
beckon from brochures and magazines.
The food is exotic. The flights are cheap.
Select your paradise.
© David Urwin 2017
Inspired by the photographs and stories of Iqbal Hossein in New Internationalist 502, May 2017.