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Monday, November 27, 2017


by Mark Tarren

“Manus detention centre cleared of all refugees and asylum seekers. Up to 60 men left without a place to stay, sources say, because new accommodation is either not ready or overfull.” —The Guardian, November 24, 2017

Above: Video of Manus prison camp November 24, 2017 tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani

In his father's gentle hands
among his world of maps
lay his son's uncharted heart.

It was given to him in the desert
without borders
presented to him without fear
without shame.

These were

The Sands of his Father's Heart
that held the young boy's body
that marked a place of returning
to bathe in the safe waters.

These things were stolen from the boy.

The winds of another country
trapped the boys heart
in barbed wire
in speechless tongues
in blood
in beatings.

These were now collected in

The New Papyrus

where the uncharted heart
must be destroyed and broken.

Where the ancient learning is undone
in these new maps there must be
metal against bone
waterless caverns
the hunger of absence for young men.

As a man he remembers
The Sands of his Father's Heart
that once held his small body
that once bathed in the safe waters
that once marked a place of returning
in his father's gentle hands.

These things were stolen from the boy

lost in the sands of Sahul

the arms of Australia.

"Peaceful protest continues in the new prison camps. Here is West Haus, the place that is not ready on Manus Island." Tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani, November 26, 2017.

“Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all.” —Richard Flanagan, The Guardian, November 24, 2017.

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including TheNewVerse.News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press and Spillwords Press.