Here ends the life of a victim

washed up on an English shore.

Placed two million and nine

he stood in a line

and behind him stood two million more.

He had run through the ruins of Mosul

With his wife from Allepo they fled.

Through mine fields and shell holes

and barefoot through hell holes

the feet of his baby, they bled.

They crawled through the mud in the darkness,

in nakedness hunger and pain.

With his child on his back

he ducked from the flack

but for her he would do it again.

And I watched on my screen at the horror

while Hungarians I thought like me

strung barbed wire in fences

and called it defences

then laughed in hysterical glee.

He walked two thousand miles across Europe,

his wife and his child by his side,

til they fell down exhausted

and there were accosted.

His daughter just lay down and died.

His wife rocked the dead child in mourning

while the thieves stole the pennies they’d scraped.

In his hunger and thirst

he struggled and cursed,

held down while he watched his wife raped.

They stood in the camp near to Calais.

Though the danger they tried to ignore,

til they got in a boat

too leaky to float –

you do that when fleeing from war.

The boat, it went down half way over.

All forty-eight souls, they were lost

in a craft built for ten

– save for two wealthy men

who counted the cash not the cost.

So come not to my nation, you hopeful.

Though Jesus, it’s said that he saves,

Dave said “Five thousand in –

any more is a sin

and Britannia, she still rules the waves.”

Your suffering no longer moves us.

And the sea, well your body it bloats.

For in sheer desperation

the soul of my nation

was sold for a handful of votes.

You’re dirty and smelly and foreign.

Your skin’s not the colour of mine.

So I’ll play on my i-phone

while I cast the first stone –

Be off with you – Get back in line.

We’ve got enough problems I tell you,

and we don’t care you’re all out of luck.

So you think I’m a prick?

You’re a bargaining chip.

Piss off – ‘cos we don’t give a fuck.

We’re tired of watching you suffer.

It’s late and we’re heading for bed.

Were those your last screams?

Then get off of our screens –

Cos frankly We’re glad that you’re dead.

Michael Forester

  1. Suzette A. Quesada

    The image of a crude and indifferent persona watching (and judging) the world from his phone succinctly captures our current reality. There are so many apathetic people out there who don’t know any better. Thanks for sharing your poem. The world needs more artists who provide social commentaries through their works–even more than those who simply create for art’s sake. 🙂

    • In The Eyes of A Lamb

      We breathe the same air,
      We stood at the same ground,
      We look up at the same sky,
      But why can’t we feel the agony and pain of each other’s cry?

      We were created to support one another,
      We build allies to serve our leader,
      We even fight for the sake of the other;
      But why can’t we see the need of a lone survivor?

      Is this how the world distorted our thoughts?
      That even our feelings are now extremely frost?
      How can we stop these unceasing wars?
      If only we care is to see the luck in ourselves.

      We worship to one God and ask for everything.
      I plead and hoped to end the burden of suffering.
      I humbly ask to forgive us upon our wrongdoing;
      Pondering this prayer might cost something.

      -Jocelyn S. Serna, 19, Philippines

  2. The poem is very powerful and moving. I hope the purpose will serve someday- the purpose to put a stop to the conflicts escalated by violence that took countless lives. I hope this can be published somewhere big, big enough to let the soldiers read so this senseless war will be put into an end. Great job for your work, good sir. Wish there are more people who’ll send their sentiments about this crisis in a peaceful and creative manner. More power to you.

  3. The milieu being depicted in the poem is undeniably true. The tenacity of the poet is admirable as clearly cascaded in every verse. My sincere wish that this work will resonate more inspiration to the intended audience. Best of luck Mr. Forester! ^_^

  4. rante delos santos

    On Michael Forester’s “Taking Refuge”

    The eyes I use to read your poetry
    is the same pair that makes me
    feel the pain
    the boy endured
    in losing his home,
    taken away from his mother’s embrace
    shielding them from
    the bombs on their heads.

    The eyes I use to help me
    release the pain from within
    while I look at
    this boy covered in dust and blood
    like a stone statue
    sat on an orange chair
    numbed by his fate.

    While I close these eyes
    tired from the flow of tears
    to utter my prayers
    for the world to see,
    for the world to care,
    for this boy and others to see hope,
    despite the indifference.

    Rante Delos Santos
    August 20, 2016

  5. Rosemarie F. Domino

    Hearing and seeing news not only about what is happening in Syria and the rest of the world rife with violence mirrored a certain apathy…or a desperation which so longingly wanted to be visible and Michael Forester sought that “refuge” in his poem

  6. Rose Celine Villapando

    We should be aware of what is going on around the world. People are suffering here and there. As I close my eyes, I can imagine how those people suffer, blood stains on their clothes, the sadness and fear in their faces makes me feel broken. This poem is very awakening to everyone. When I read this poem, the tears in my eyes fell down and as I have imagined it, I felt that I was one of those people who suffered so much. Thank you Mr. Forester for this poem! Looking forward for more poems especially like this soon. 🙂

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