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Where were you when the world was ending?
When the world was ending,
where were you?
When people were dying,
their waterlogged bodies drying
out on some distant shore
while scores of others crossed the sea
all fleeing, desperately
believing,
hoping,
beyond all hope,
that leaving home,
or at least the bare bones
they used to call home,
would lead them somewhere warm,
somewhere safe,
any place to place their feet
that would greet them with open arms.

Where were you when the world was ending?
When the world was ending,
where were you?
When the sky burned red,
as red as the blood from dead
bodies clogging distant streets
whose names you would never read
whose faces you would never meet
but you would treat
as if they were monsters
or terrorists, the lists
of their sins and the sins of their kin
spill from your sanguine lips,
you hypocrites who applaud bombs,
saying those would bring calm
and peace,
ignoring peoples’ most basic needs.
Need I remind you that bombs
are no balm for these wounds,
spoons full of remains
cannot sustain hungry screams,
streams of blood
are no flood for dry mouths,
mouthfuls of prayers
cannot repair what you’ve done.
And who can say that good has won
when one and all
are responsible?

Where were you when the world was ending?
When the world was ending,
where were you?
When the cracked, dry earth
produced no water for thirst,
no food for the worst
hunger, our earth no longer
a home for us
because we failed to trust
what she tried tell us for so long.
How wrong we were to deny her
and now here we are,
clinging to her scarred remains
and all that remains are wars
for what little spoils are left
and whoever has kept score
knows we have all lost.

Where were you when the world was ending?
When the world was ending,
where were you?
When all the world’s ills
spilled onto your doorstep?
Did you step around them,
send them elsewhere,
pretend they weren’t there,
declare them not your problem,
cling to your doctrine?
Did you push it all away
until the day you
became one of them,
their problems turned out to be yours
and it was you knocking on doors
that no one answered?
It’s easy to keep the world
at arm’s length
when you feel your strength
is unmatched, unsurpassed,
and that you all amassed
will keep you from succumbing
but your time is coming,
and it won’t be until your world is ending
that you’ll finally start remembering
where you were.

boat refugees

Image from The Telegraph’s A Refugee’s Christmas Carol.

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