At night, on Chios, around the town
At quarter past eleven,
A resounding horn, a sea-borne sound
Comes crashing through the heavens.
To those that sit around the port
In restaurants quite at ease
Local men of that Island sort
That ouzo seeks to please,
They see a boat adorned with lights
And topped with three dolphins,
Come steaming through the Aegean night
From places they have been.
But just a little way away
Where lights were not so bright
Where neither ouzo nor laden trays
Did ever come in sight,
Were younger men for whom this sight
Marked months upon the clock
That might be boarded to alight
On Athens’ stony dock.
But this hope unfulfilled went
They simply stared in awe
And as they turned to campsite bed
It’s shrinking lanterns saw.
But now! As those with tickets bought
Were passing through the gate
One man with daring bravely sought
To board and cease his wait.
With head bowed low and rucksack tight
He promptly stepped head
And taking care to shun the light
In shadows he did tread.
Then up against the gate he came
Where balaclava-ed policemen wait
And racking hard his desperate brain
His nerves he did abate.
‘Ticket’ they asked with curling lips
That bordered sneering teeth,
Then held it out inspected it,
Toying with cuffs beneath.
‘Okay’ they jibed and ushered on,
‘No, wait, your papers, then be gone’
So them they did unfold.
‘Too bad, my man, get back from here,
You’re undone by this text
Europe’s not your home this year,
Be gone, now, who is next?’
So back he slid with tears that slid,
Back straight into the gloom
And with his heart the ship did bid,
Farewell, I’ll see you soon.
Back to the camp,, back to the shit
Back to a wretched fate.
Back to the heat, back to the tip,
Back to the Daily Wait.