Tuesday, 06 June 2023 16:31

The Refugee Game

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in Poetry
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The Refugee Game

The Refugee Game

by Mike Jenkins

You start in your own land.
What are you fleeing from?
Pick a card: drought, war, famine,
A callous, oppressive regime.

If you begin in Albania
You won't get far -
Return to Go, start again
(It’s jobs you're after
And there are plenty,
But you're surely a gangster).

Roll the dice, land on Poland,
Hungary or Serbia -
You want to keep moving
But you can only go back.

The Calais camp is like jail
Except there's no formula
To get out, no double.

If you manage, there's a small boat.
This is where it gets tricky!
Pick up your Chance cards -
Overboard, drowned, arrested.

If you progress there are hotels,
Detention centres, paltry hand-outs.
You haven't won,
You're just stuck on a square.

There's that square ahead -
If you land on it
It will be straight to Rwanda,
Do not pass Go,
Do not collect your 45 quid.
You're out.... off the board!

But if you're fortunate
Pick up your Community Chest card -
' If you're from Ukraine,
Go round the board,
You get a visa, a job,
Can even visit home.'

You've lost your house or your family,
Sometimes your whole town.
There's no returning to square one,
Though you roll and hope
Again and again and again.
And the name of the game
Is "Nobody Can Win".

Note: the image above is of Syrian and Iraqi refugees reach the coastal waters of Lesbos in Greece, after having crossed from Turkey.

Read 805 times Last modified on Tuesday, 06 June 2023 16:39
Mike Jenkins

Mike Jenkins is an award-winning Welsh poet and author and unofficial poet for Cardiff City FC. His new book of political poetry, Nobody's Subject, is published in Summer 2016.