“Fleeing Refugees” - A poem by Abhimanyu Singh

We fled our homes
Fierce fighting broke out on our streets.
Now there’s no turning back,
Bombs turn homes to rubble.
We wandered for shelter for weeks,
My wife and I, two small kids.
We couldn’t take the stench in the camps,
Squeezed by thousands, hungry.

People going to Germany.
We trekked to the sea,
Kids in arms in sweltering heat,
Over unforgiving terrain.
We heard of people drowning,
Their boats tossed like weeds
While crossing to Europe.
Our suffering so great,
We were ready to die,
And so end our misery.
Not to be left behind,
We raced towards Germany,
Welcoming us to live in peace.

We crossed the sea in the middle of night,
Made our way in darkness across the beach.
Couldn’t escape the police net.
They searched our body and belongings,
And cursed us of no worth.
Derisively told us to get lost,
And dare not show our faces again.
Exhausted and weak, we pushed ahead,
Picking morsels of food to survive.
Asking passing vehicles to give us lift.
Some took pity on the helpless infants, obliged.
The crowd thickened
As we came upon the Hungarian border.
A barricade of razor-sharp wire
Barred our way.
Our dreams crushed,
We sat at the barrier in sun and rain,
Huddled at night under the chilly sky,
Chanting ‘Germany! Germany!
Shoot us dead!
We’ll not move.’

Women and children in front.
A crazy crowd
Rushed to the front,
Pulling the barrier down.
The Hungarians rained gas, water cannons and truncheons.
Blinded, we were struck down.
Children shrieked in fear.
A few jumped over the razor-sharp wire,
Their torn flesh smeared in blood.
The cops pinned them down,
Sent them to rot in jail.

News poured in of people dead,
Dead infants being washed up on shores.
Corpses dumped by wayside.
The media’s compassion
Was little comfort
As country after country
Set up walls to turn us away.
We were only seeking haven
To better our children’s lives.
But felt we were pariah dogs,
Shunned by everyone.
Whatever happened to humanity?
Morality banished?
The mighty fought over us in Syria?
Reduced to piles of misery?
We have not lost hope,
We have come far by Allah’s grace.
Our journey’s end is within sight,
Inshallah! We’ll get there soon.