Lampedusa

We were at our nets
heard cries —
Soon there was gold braid,
shiny buttons and polished shoes
stepping around the slime
of dead fish. They lifted
binoculars to their eyes
fixed bodies in the lenses:
mothers, fathers, daughters
sons, brothers, sisters,
grandfathers, grandmothers,
nephews, nieces, cousins,
aunts and uncles.
‘Look away’, gold braid ordered.
‘Attend to your nets and catches.
There is nothing to be done.’
We pushed our boats back out to sea
pulled out the living —
one-hundred and fifty-five.
Later gold braid sailed
out in shiny boats
brought back three-hundred and sixty-six
bodies wrapped in shrouds.

moya pacey

orange dinghies

in defence of our island
we need fancy new jet airplanes
with stealth and fight capacities
and secret new equipment
we bought lots of orange dinghies
and we’re giving them away

the threat is not yet specified
but we need to be quite terrified
in defence of our island
against a thousand seeking refuge
we have lots of orange dinghies
but we’re sending them away

to keep our borders sovereign
in defence of our island
against a thousand seeking refuge
we have lots of orange dinghies
and we’re pushing them away

Sandra Renew

Today we bombed Syria

Today we bombed Syria
today we agreed to give asylum to a small number of refugees
running from bombs under a dangerous sky

we refuse the history of Vietnam
we did not learn from Iraq or Libya
today we bombed Syria
this same today refugees from Syria
rot in tropical jungle camps in our name
in our name the bombs are dropped on Syria

Sandra Renew

A boat called hope

come on a cruise with me
in a boat called hope
from the tremolo
where memories explode
into dust and loam
pack your family in a dream
roll over on the ocean
to where their faces wait
motionless as stone

time
     tick
     tock
     ticks
like a metronome

back again you go
floating on the foam

Hazel Hall

Sing your landay

In the dark cage of the village
a woman’s voice sings of the girl
who stole her brothers’ honour.
They shaved her black curls,
closed her green eyes, scooped
the body into a sack—
threw it into the cold river.

Come back into the world
girl with black curls and green eyes.
Put on your wedding shoes.
Let your hennaed fingers
beat the hand drum.

Sing your landay —
over and over.

moya pacey

Mohammad’s problem

A perfect day for us to demonstrate
on fresh-mown lawns outside the parliament.
How white and clinic-clean it looks beyond
stalls and banners near the podium.

Mohammad speaks for those who now cannot
on all the costs of freedom that we take
as given: sea, starvation, sunstroke, fear
sickness and death upon a leaking boat

not in our psyche. Today a specialist
will keyhole through your mouth and surgically
travel through your body on a sea
of bile to find the rocks that caused your pain.

We’ll be grateful privilege returned
your health. Mohammad’s problem will remain.

Hazel Hall

Go back to where you came from

Go back to where you came from
And stay where you were put
We don’t want your sort here
Our gates are firmly shut

Above the high tide mark
We’ve hung a rigid sign
‘Keep out.  Hands off
All this land is mine’

Don’t board your leaky boats
blind eyes don’t count the cost
your sacrifice is worthless
Pollies think of votes they’ve lost

Go back to where you came from
And stay where you were put
We don’t want your sort here
Our gates are firmly shut

We turn off teles showing
Your bodies in our sea
We ask why did you come?
Stay in your own country

Save your money mate
No way you’re welcome here
We’ll stay the way we are
My oath—no bloody fear

We love our Aussie way of life
This is how we’ll always be
‘Stralia—wide brown land
She’ll do alright for me

Go back to where you came from
And stay where you were put
We don’t want your sort here
Our gates are firmly shut

moya pacey