Play the hymn "I Vow to Thee, My Country"

Thoughts in a Food Hall

Food in my mouth. Nothing in hers.
The electricity company got her pension.

Leaky boats on the Sea of Munchies.
They want to come to Australia.

Cool drink and a hot shower. She smiles.
Wash the canes. Pack the bag.

Tom yam soup and Thai red curry. And rice.
No rice left on the boat.

A contract caning. Her Master's wish.
Be there. Do the job. Leave.

Hope. Heat. Hunger.
They want to come to Australia.

Sweat on my face. My nose runs.
Tight jeans. Women don't wear dresses now.

She cries. Asks for a tissue. Her nose ran.
Wishes her Master could see her take it.

Food in my mouth. Nothing in theirs.
They want to come to Australia.

I walk into the night. The caning is done.
Her friend will wait with her.

A boat sinks. A mother cries.
Food in my mouth. Sea-water in theirs.

They want to come to Australia.
We cannot find it in our hearts.

by Eric Carwardine