IMA

We packed a suitcase and fled
Not like taking a holiday
the pen moves on marks the paper
careful ticks in some boxes
crosses in others

We got on the boat and the boat sank
We held on tight to a buoy
At first the children were near me
but they were small and the sea so big
the pen moves on marks the paper
careful ticks in some boxes
crosses in others

I am a father who has lost his children
the pen stops …
What is your name?
‘I am a wounded lion but the longer I live
with my wounds the more I feel the pain’
the pen moves on marks the paper IMA

moya pacey

(IMA is a government acronym Illegal Maritime Arrival.
Words in inverted commas spoken by a father who lost three children to Sieve X.)

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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

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

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