Tag Archives: fortune of birth

Fortune of birth

Who are we to close the gates
and refuse you entry?
who are we to claim this land
we have borrowed by fortune of birth?
how can any of us say it is our inheritance?
It belongs no more to us than to the wolves
and wildcats we anihilated so long ago,
or the crow circling an abandoned pastry in the gutter,
carelessly dropped from the hand of a man
who took more than he required.
I hear him now, whining about greedy seagull antics;
wailing that he can’t afford a holiday
because he’s just had a new kitchen fitted;
whinging that immigrants are parasitic.
His indignant belly threatens to break the zip
separating the word Ever from Last,
as he grinds a sodden fag-butt beneath his Nike shod toe
and slinks to the jobcentre with his sick note,
before slipping to work where they pay cash
and no questions are asked.

You arrive, hungry and confused,
your status robbed by cruel circumstance,
in need of some human kindness.
The government knows it can make
a tidy profit from your citizenship,
but it admits you in the name of charity
and in the name of charity you are herded
into asylum seekers’ hell;
grey prisoners in grey prisons, with no rights
and often no grasp of our language,
treated like criminals;
your only crime being misfortune.

The man collects his dole
and goes home to his cosy life,
to read the lies the tabloids tell,
while you try to settle in a de-humanising cell
in a country that tells you to go.

Who am I, and who is that man,
to say we should close the gates
and refuse you entry?
Who are we to claim this land
we have borrowed by fortune of birth?

This humble offering was inspired by M. Zane McClellan’s wonderful poem Captcha ~ I Am Human

Also please check out Not Me My Friend by Gbolabo Adetunji,

©Jane Paterson Basil