Thousands sailed

For the dverse prompt, music, poetry and (in this case) protest.

 

Thousands sailed or walked or crawled

From barren fields with famine scrawled

Across the ocean, desert sands

Or mountains capped with snow.

They left behind their loved ones

And the only life they knew,

Because to stay was death

And that was all they had to know.

Thousands still are sailing

Fleeing hunger, they believe

(Their children like ghosts wailing)

They have no choice but they must leave,

No one leaves his home

If there’s any way to stay,

Whatever hatred’s shouted,

Whatever politicians say,

For the waves they swallow children

As they swallow up the sun,

And we pack up our humanity

Then we turn our backs and run.

We turn our eyes from suffering,

There’s nothing we can do,

Our house is full, no room for more,

Though we know it isn’t true.

We sing our songs of how it was

When all the world was green,

And paradise a cabin

At the end of a bóithrín.

And the songs that they are singing

We know them, they’re the same,

About love and land and leaving

And they should fill us all with shame.

 

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