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Rubber boat from Libya en route to Malta
Butting in to winds and waves of wine dark sea
With a cargo of Africans
Crammed in, jammed on
Hopeful helpful Europe will set them free.

Loud colours, cotton print lifeless in the water
Floating not yet bloated from the wine dark sea
With a cargo of cadavers
Waived quietly on their way
Who cares what colour dead turns out to be?

Scooping up survivors is a white man’s burden
Face masks and boiler suits, colour coding’s clear
With cargoes of Africans
Still more cargoes of Africans
Healing and helping hands giving way to fear.

(with apologies to John Masefield)