Poems

Catastrophe

Sea – you must stop slaughtering my loved ones!
Threatening the weak is wrong.
By God, you’re worthless!
Admit the debt you owe –
Confess your crime!
May God damn you!
You murder young men and women
Forced far from home.
May your waters dry up drop by drop
Until you’re as dry as a desert
Where nomads stroll in the late afternoon.

Then the sea rumbled and roared,
Waves crashed and foamed,
And the sea spoke up:
Your poem is offensive!
What you claim is news to me.
Do you think I’m really to blame?
Do I deserve the attack you’ve launched?
Think again!

When your land is weak,
If no one leads the way,
Patience wears thin,
Hope fades,
Despair takes root.
If leaders sleep,
Won’t this lay the road to death?

When, in darkness, girls were smuggled
A wave rose up and killed them all –
Nothing was there to save them!
When their families failed to stop them,
Did predators in the wilderness eat them?
How many good people the desert has taken!
How many have been punished in this prison!
How many noble and innocent women,
How many youths in their prime
Have been picked off by vultures!
The children God gave you,
Were they just meat for animals?
When that boat capsized
And bodies washed ashore,
Even the fish wept with shock.
Can’t you see who really flung your dead
On your shores – think again!

The extermination that sea-migration brings – 
destruction and gruesome death, 
the mothers who cut the mourning cloth,
this catastrophe which keeps coming at you – 
surely something must be learned from it?
Haven’t you grown any wiser yet?

When the heavy gu’ rains have fallen
and the afternoon rain have come,
when the galaw bustard and the jugley bustard
cry out from the bush –
doesn’t good sense teach you
to secure the roof of your hut?

Doesn’t good sense teach you
to depart at dawn 
with your camels and cattle
from the place where ticks and wild animals gather,
the place where hunger gnaws?

Now you’ve reached the bitter end: 
because you sold your house 
your children have been lost
 – but then the terrible news arrives
that you bought your children’s death.
If your wealth has obtained
what humanity shuns
then you’ve become neighbours with death:
this is what you deserve – 
so why should you wallow in grief?

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