Rhodes in Spring [Sailing the Aegean]

Rhodes in Spring [Sailing the Aegean]

 

by Angelos Sakkis

 

…boat sunk soon as it got near the shore…

…could still see heads bob in the water…

…small waves rolling in, not much of a swell…

…a chorus standing on the rocks looking at them…

…a woman crying, men’s stony faces…

…two hundred fifty of them, packed like sardines…

…an awkward old tub made for Marmara sea…

…a clumsy one it was, just for the tourist trade…

…some of them drowning in four feet of water…

…shore full of jagged rocks, treacherous spot…

…they didn’t even know how to swim…

…the waters fully charted, captain should know…

…good thing it happened in the day, otherwise…

…sheer panic, their first time ever in the sea…

…in calmer weather they would just walk out…

…if it were night all of them would’ve drowned…

…seemed never to have seen the sea before…

…from Syria, they said, northern Iraq and…

…two thousand five hundred each, in cash…

…euros, not dollars, anywhere in Greece…

…the many layers of women’s clothing…

…a mother flailing on a lifesaver, losing her grip…

…wearing as much as they could carry…

…I saw the baby sink and dove right in…

…not even to my worst enemy, what I saw…

…he never cried, his big eyes fixed on me…

…our people saw it happen and they ran to help…

…green water by the rocks still full of debris…

…hypothermia they said, boys under observation…

…they sink the boat and leave them to their fate…

…scuttle the craft then quickly disappear …

…all done on purpose, a new slave trade…

[read the poem also in greek]

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