07 March 2017

For the Untransported

Is this the land to which they were sent,
Those hundreds? Passes stamped and
faces pressed against misted windows;
buttons done up against the coming bombs,
shoelaces tied one last time against
tripping at the gap —
that inconceivably wide gap
between step and platform?

Is this the land which took them in
and held them through war and winter,
never hearing from those who gave them up —
not brothers, uncles, aunts,
never from fathers, mothers?
Whose people sent them parcels strung with more than love
though less than blood?
Is this the land?

Is this the land that bore me, taught me?
The land whose pass I carry still, stamped
with the right of the bearer to go
unhindered across continents,
that now will take no more?

No more sufferers, no more war-torn widows
No more broken children, no more exhausted fathers
No more tentative victims, no more orphans.
No more of those crying at the roadside
No more of those millions waiting in Lebanon,
No more of those who have lost, and lost again.
No more who can take no more?

England, what changed so silently, without a word?
Answer me that.
What, exactly, changed between, say, Winton, and now?
The answer inflames, makes furious. On
this morning of freedom, as I walk near to
Prague's main station, I feel for my pass
in my pocket and want to break it.