National Poetry Writing Month is a poetry writing challenge to write a poem a day, which takes place every year in April. Follow the link to find out more, be inspired, get daily prompts and meet other poets!
For Day 7, I’m joining in with Sue Vincent’s weekly #Writephoto prompt. Writers and bloggers are invited to use the image as inspiration to create a post on their own blogs, poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, or whatever you choose.
Click on the banner for more information about this fun weekly writing prompt!
For visually challenged writers, the image shows the view from within a cave on the sea shore, looking out onto a beach. There are the shadowy entrances of other caves across the bay and a waterfall tumbles down from the rocky cliffs.
She swims to shore, hides in cave,
Waiting for nightfall.
Ringleader promised new life
In free country, but he lied.
Awaits gullible migrant.
New shackles bind her
To heartless, greedy owners.
Still a slave in a new land.
Hopes and dreams will fade
Into an endless dark night,
The Unpromised land
will swallow her youth and strength,
Bursting starry-eyed visions.
Many undocumented migrants try to enter richer countries illegally, with the help of globally organised traffickers who promise them a new and better life, but sadly, it’s often just a ploy. Many end up being exploited or even worse used as slave labour, unable to break free from their captors.
Small, unpopulated, seaside locations are often used to smuggle these vulnerable people into another country.
According to a recent article in Business Line, women are especially at risk, due to the demand for prostitution. Almost three-quarters of women and girls who are trafficked are sexually exploited, and 35 per cent are trafficked for forced labour.
There is plenty of news coverage about this issue. A very recent article in the Guardian called One in 200 people is a slave. Why? Gives us some shocking facts about modern-day slavery.
An article in Time magazine on March 14th 2019 called ‘It Was As if We Weren’t Human.’ Inside the Modern Slave Trade Trapping African Migrants includes more information on the topic.
It’s not an issue a single person, or group of people can solve, because it’s a complex, global concern, which needs to be addressed at an international, political level, but building awareness of this shameful practice is the first step towards helping those who are victims of modern-day slave trade.
Langston Hughes in 1936 by Carl Van Vechten, Wikipedia
There’s a long history of the poetry of resistance, in which poets have spoken out about all kinds of social injustice. There’s more information on the Poetry Foundation in an article on Poems of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment
Here’s one of my favourite, by Langston Hughes at the Poetry Foundation
I look at the world
I look at the world
From awakening eyes in a black face—
And this is what I see:
This fenced-off narrow space
Assigned to me.
I look then at the silly walls
Through dark eyes in a dark face—
And this is what I know:
That all these walls oppression builds
Will have to go!
I look at my own body
With eyes no longer blind—
And I see that my own hands can make
The world that’s in my mind.
Then let us hurry, comrades,
The road to find.
Langston Hughes, “I look at the world” from (New Haven: Beinecke Library, Yale University, ) Source: Poetry (January 2009)
Do you have a favourite social protest poem, or poem about human migration?