No Respite Here

Posted: October 24, 2013 in MUSINGS
Tags: , , , ,

The dead from the Lampedusa tragedy. Pic. credit:

We have laughed before
On the morning when we were born.
I was not there but they told me I laughed.
With careless glee, taking all the world in my gums.
And these ones
I heard them laugh
That early morning when the midwife brought them here
Telling tales of shot mamas and arrested papas
Certainly never to return.
I did not see them but I heard them laugh
Laugh at the world, laugh at all our world
Which would not laugh back.

Why do you ask us to laugh now
Here, at the brink of this water
Coming and going, calling us?
Why do you ask us to laugh
With a burnt village behind us
And drowned brothers before us,
On our way to Lampedusa?
What is humorous about paddling over the place
Where your brother’s carcass lies
Grinning up above at you
On your way to freedom,
And Lampedusa, death.
Wherein is the humour of overtaking your brother?

We sail away, our heads full of dreams
Dreams that come to us only by daylight
For where we stand,
We cannot sleep at night
And try as we do,
We have forgotten how to laugh.

24th October 2013 – For the 350, maybe more, who perished on their way to freedom.

I wrote this poem to remember Africans who died earlier this month off the coast of Lampedusa while fleeing difficult conditions in their homes. All they wanted was a better life.

  1. Oh this is tragic and very moving. When I saw the photo, My heart missed a beat!


  2. Exquisite words for a terror that mankind should never have to endure.


  3. readjerome says:

    This poem is as beautiful as a poem about such a grim subject can be allowed to be. I like the way laughter was continually alluded to. All in all, a poem that captures the dreams of those who died and how those dreams were lost. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dela says:

      Thanks for coming by and commenting, Jerome. The poem does not even half portray how poignant the reality itself is. Hopefully we all work to stop these senseless migrations as Africans.


  4. shakesduncan says:

    touching , i must admit..


  5. […] joined the party. There is a body that can be mourned and another which is unmournable. I have written poetry in the past for African refugees who died as they tried to reach Lampedusa. The situation has only […]


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