'Winter on Chios'


Hell looked much like paradise

when summer came at last

it bore green trees and dry latrines

and when it came, came fast.

And if you arrived in the month of June,

It wouldn’t be so clear,

Quite what the winter did to splinter

Those same you’ll soon hold dear.

These families, these individuals

unaccompanied minors,

were sleeping, eating, weeping wet

not all are now survivors.

For some, the cold was bad enough,

and the water in their tents,

others slept by foamed sea spray

that soaked their vestments.

There simply wasn’t one hard roof

under which to rest

not one heated, seated room

like that which Europe’s best

Politicians had to sit in

and talk of Winterisation

by which they’d glamp the camps in time

for Christmas precipitation.

But sent to sleep by their own hot air,

They woke to find it March,

And one they’d fed, they found those dead,

They’d left right in the lurch.

Meanwhile the gnawing cold had found

a home in those that tried

to do what governments had failed

and push back Winter’s tide.

But how much worse for those that slept!

and waited for the Heads

of EU member states that staked

their countries’ gates in reds.

The red of children’s hands grown numb

so numb they could not eat

the red of dangerous heaters used

and fumes they had to eat.

The red of suicide attempts

by those hung on a tree,

their bodies baubles hidden far

from what the public see.

The red of fires quickly sprung

by those that just crave heat,

that uncontrolled reduces tents

to ashes, dust and peat.

And this was Winter, don’t you recall?

When Hell revamped with ice,

Left those dead or deadly pale,

In the Aegean Paradise.

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