Sonnet for the Refugees

By Ben Hession

But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?



We who watch the television and not a war

so much, do not understand how, there, outside

our lounge rooms, people unwillingly must leave

their homes, unsure –

chancing their families to criminals to provide


safe passage in unsound boats towards

an uncertain welcome

in a vague destination, rumour says is free.

Hope that this is the case becomes a sort of income,

to buy a buoyant mettle against the worst of open sea.


No passengers knew they’d be queue jumpers, though.

Nor did it occur that they’d be the subject of debate –

human beings detained by mandatory politics,

the human cargo

of words of indefinite expansion: while we’ll casually

poll their human fate.


And yet what is illicit in wanting this

democratic somewhere?

And what dignity of ours isn’t worthy enough to share?


Ben Hession.


Brolgas art work by Phoebe McIlwraith

NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN (We Look After This Country) – A call for submissions

Key Dates: Submissions open March 7 Submissions close April 6 NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN  (we look after this Country) Through a new editorial partnership, Right Now and Groundswell are platforming stories that explore the intersection of climate change and human rights, pertaining to First Nations justice. ‘NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN’ is a series of pieces […]