A secret language

by Frances Roberts.


Consider what we have here:

a world with starving millions

at one end of the spectrum

and at the other

those with a fortune in millions.

Thousands of the poorest human beings

are on the move

from famine war or persecution.

The children for the most part

are already damaged by their destitution

or experiences.

The wealthy for the most part

close their borders

against what they see

as unmanageable need.

What are they saying without saying?

That the less fortunate should be helped to die

by prevention of assimilation anywhere?

Is that the secret map

that leaves the well established


What have we become

in criminalising acts of assistance

gagging those who speak out

penalising those who would assist

the desperate

even to the point of preventing

rescue from the sea?

The gangs of profiteers

who present to ‘support’ these desperate folk

are the consequence

of our own denial of assistance

in appalling human suffering

and of our unconcern at criminalising

those who flee.

We are all one species.

Which of you who want to block the access

of these poor souls

will say instead ‘let’s execute them’?

And yet you may as well:

it is the secret language you all speak

with your guns and wires and barriers.