Boat people


These boat people are poor, God
driven by desperation,
leaving homelands to avoid persecution
they find themselves
not in the paradise they expect
but in a hell
of another kind
They look for a welcome and understanding
but horror after horror
greets them
Their vision of a land
large with opportunity
diminishes with the wire
which encloses them
Day by day hope slips
from hands which had been eager
from eyes which had been bright
from hearts which had beat strongly
Instead of a canvas
glowing with colours of newness
their eyes are reduced
to shadows of darkness
grim angles
sharp lines
Bewilderment grows
till the pain of their plight
explodes in frantic fear
as they struggle
against the terror
of these new bonds
The wheels grind deliberately slowly
and only words of life
of comfort
of encouragement
from a compassionate soul
bring balm
to crushed despair
God, in this darkness
please shine your light
Break down the walls
of destruction and repression
Cause stone hearts
to be softened
and frozen indifference melted
by the warmth
of your mercy
Bring healing to desert sorrow

Anna Johnstone, NZ


(written on a visit to Australia in July 2003)



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