Boat People

By Katherine E Seppings

Who would come in a boat to these shores
girt by shark nets?

Navigate a new wave of life,
in creaking, crowded vessel, clutching children,
stench of diesel, fish, fear

brave the tides and swells and rips
of the heart
tear cultural continuity apart?

Who could aspire to our colony-acquired
affluence and arrogance
and white policy play?

Who should confront our apathy—
an attitude built on all who came on boats before
and took what they wanted
and did what they wanted
and called that democratic.
Look at the demographic—
is there no more room on our multi-cultural palette?

Who would come in a boat to this end of the earth land?
plot a course against immigration’s ebb and flow
last hope of all
to seek a humane hand?
hope that keeps some boats miraculously afloat
hope sometimes dashed against the cliff edge
of a wretched island
futures flung like flotsam
hope that sinks like the heartless sound
of a stone dropped
to the bottom of a well
dark as the world.

Katherine E Seppings is an artist, writer and photographer, published in non-fiction books, poetry journals and anthologies. In 2012, she was an AP Café Poet in Castlemaine. Katherine was Highly Commended in the Rhonda Jankovic Poetry Award 2014 and has won two Castlemaine Poetry Cups. She is currently working on a collection of her poetry, a memoir, a Diploma in Professional Editing and Writing and is a member of the Varuna Alumni.

Feature image: Global Call for Climate Action/Flickr