Yet another tragedy that we can blame on foolhardiness, mafia networks, porous borders, but in the end, people are dead for chasing a dream we reserve for ourselves.


There are arguments and activists,
but the waves take no position,
the dinghies have no opinion,

the faces fixed on the horizon know only
the hardship of back there
and the possibilities of up ahead.

They have hands that know work,
heads full of dreams,
diplomas and recommendations.

There are women who have nothing
and children with empty stomachs,
and they all count waves and try not to dream.

They might have listened to lies,
been robbed, raped, threatened,
but they are here on the waves,

and the waves don’t care
if they live or die.
They have no opinion.

Only we have opinions,
we who are not drifting in hazard,

only we believe we can sell poor people missiles,
extract their subterranean wealth,
turn their forests into plantations,

take away their fishing boats
and give them work in luxury hotels,
make them paupers in their own land.

Only we say, thus far and no further,
this land is my land, it’s not your land,
go back, begone, get thee behind me,

in the name of fairness, legality and global trade,
in the name of the Father, for better, for worse,
for ever and ever, amen.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

22 thoughts on “Maritime”

    1. 27 migrants drowned off Calais trying to cross the channel in a zodiac. There are lots of drowning, but this is the largest number at one attempt, so we’re shocked. As if. They want to get to the UK but the UK insists the French have to stop them. They won’t be stopped.

    1. Of course. People leave their homes for all sorts of reasons, but they’re all desperate ones. Rather than pandering to their leaders’ delusions of grandeur and letting them spend the entire GDP on fighter aircraft and other toys, we ought to be investing in developing countries so their people can stay put.

    1. All the countries that mine others for their assets, exploit their natural beauty for rich tourists, encourage favourable, corrupt regimes, flog them weapons they don’t need, to fuel criminal wars, have a huge responsibility to the people whose lives are wrecked. But as long as enough of us are content to say, it’s so sad, and I’m so lucky it’s not me, sigh and wave the sinking boat on its way, they’ll keep dying. Until the day the climate really goes berserk and millions of migrants set off all together. Then we’ll see what a ‘flood’ looks like.

      1. We exploit who we can in any way we can. Then we blame the refugees for trying to leave the wreckage. Of course we are also doing it to ourselves, so, as you say, our own reckoning is nigh. We don’t need any gods to make floods and fire–we can do it very well on our own.

      2. I heard a few days ago that there’s a growing fear of another war brewing in Bosnia. Next day, France sells a whole fleet of refurbished Rafales to them. Are we concerned about wars next door, or do we just want to keep doing our deadly business?

      3. It’s the equivalent of the questioners and torturers specialists in drawing and quartering denouncing the end of executions as public entertainment because it put them out of a job.

  1. I don’t know why they are so desparate to come here…it must be an awful shock when they get here, better than France I agree but still awful.
    I can’t imagine what horrors drive parents to risk their children’s lives in this way. It so often ends in tragedy! I weep for this evil word.
    I wish the French authorities would work with ours.

    1. They’re anglophone, former colonies, protectorates etc and they want to claim asylum in the UK, naturally enough. Often they have family in UK. The problem is that the UK govt wants Europe (that they opted out of) to stop the asylum seekers getting as far as UK to put in a claim. Weeping crocodile tears when they drown, but not giving two shits about the thousands in camps just waiting their chance to cross the Channel. They’re all offered the possibility of claiming asylum in France but they want to go to UK. Morally, I think it’s up to the UK to sort out its asylum claimants, not France or Europe. BJ wants to have his cake and eat it.

      1. BJ, I agree and all in power including the French are weeping Crocodile tears. We the people mourn for these people genuinely.
        My point is the French authorities could police their beaches and waters better. Ours are, the coast guard and navy are rushed off their feet.
        We do our best here to process them but many many have nothing and no one here. Also we are not the only country to have colonised other countries. That said there is nothing to be proud of.
        Why do those with no ties to here want to face danger rather that take asylum in other countries not just France… I feel I know the answer but don’t want to offend.💜

      2. Why would we fall out? We’re both victims of the propaganda our respective governments put out. The truth is no doubt somewhere in the middle. I just find it very hard to justify closing the door on families fleeing war, famine and persecution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s