What, of all things beneath the sun, is fairest?
Thousands on foot or the ships sent to take them
to some other island, city or border,
Perhaps you think a fence the fairest thing seen,
A thing of razor wire and steel, sun-gleaming,
its check-points manned, all processed in good order?
a dinghy to go over water to land,
papers – who, this desperate, cares if they are forged
or genuine? Hope lights on what it can:
to bombs, what’s law?
Perhaps, to you, an antiseptic kill
a drone’s Hellfire payload, deployed cleanly
by a joystick fondled in an air-conned room
in Lincoln – better?
I say the hand that reaches for another
is more fair than marching troops or battleships.
Light work, it should be, to make this plain to see:
would that it were,
but people call, in the name of drowned children,
for bombs; people say our empty land is full,
and praise our leader when he kills by fiat:
Wham. Bam. Thank you Cam.
(this poem contains elements of Sappho Fragment 16, ‘The Anactorian Poem’, as translated by Richard Lattimore)