The loading

continuing the refugees’ journey

We’re packed,

Stacked, one crushed against the other,

Ehva tight against my breast,

Adam gripping my legs, face hidden,

Barely breathing.


Cattled for the past month,

We’ve gone camp to camp, caged,

Barbed wire cutting us separate from the world,

Ghosts fleshed yet unfleshed, spirits   

Briefly haunting the tv screens, and perhaps your dreams,

But we are, remain, forgotten,

Dregs of a war whose currency remains profit

For those hidden yet highly visible few.


I hear the guard approaching –

“Move in,” he shouts, “There’s more of you scum

to come. Move in, you Hell’s whores!”


Behind me an old woman trembles;

The sun has burnt us all, days spent on the road,

No shade, the land barren, despairing,

Dust ground finer beneath our passing feet.


“Get the fuckers loaded” – another voice is raised.

“Use the prod, for fuck’s sake. Get them moving!

They do not belong here.”


We are packed;

the guards’ words reflect reality –

the politicians’ tongue  – “You are all welcome” – an act

that shatters as we are tasered,

pushed into the rail trucks,

the doors closing on yet another hope of a home.


© PilgermannBM 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Wow! On my first read. I’m going to read this again and again: Maybe I’ll appreciate more of what is my present lot. I have always had empathy for the immigrants (or would-be ones) but it never does any harm to be reminded in such a vivid way, as your poem facilitates. I have an enduring image – put in my head by a TV clip – of dogs being transported in Asia to become food, it is terrifying to me, just as is the plight of those you have so ably described in your poem. Where the bloody hell… Read more »


Just like cattle being transported. It conveys the barbarity of humans towards each other; an unsettling read, but all the better for it; thanks P.


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