A sombre poem today for a sombre story
Coffins should be sad enough
even for those you don’t know.
John Donne still making sense
After all these centuries.
The news is the backing track
as I read. I’m tuning it out,
the occasional glance thrown its way
due to the screen’s hypnotic pull.
I snap to the story at the image
two dozen or more coffins
laid out in not quite accurate
columns and rows.
Dead refugees in a strange lands,
caught mid leap between
fear and desperate hope
by the hostility of the sea.
The story moves on.
Soldiers bear them in teams of six
arms round shoulders for stability
gently shepherd their burden in church.
On the end wooden panel near their feet
hand written in marker pen is
the simplest, practical yet rending epitaph:
“Body Number 131”.