The smallest of boats:

dinghies, inflatables,

sometimes not much

more than floating,

deflating paddling pools.

We need people to pick

supermarket produce,

work in our hospitals,

keep our country afloat,

yet ringfence the drawbridge.


Gangsters exploit hope.

Inflated, red-faced politicians

and pound shop pundits

respond to hate,

puffing and blowing

from the safety

of Commons benches

and TV screens.


Lifeboat crews lambasted

on social media for

braving waves, saving lives.

Icy chill of the Channel,

salt water burning

in the throat. Giant

container ships loom

in the dark. The new

Dunkirk spirit?  

Hypothermia of the soul. 

This is not our finest hour.


◄ Richmond Palace

The Bell ►


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M.C. Newberry

Sat 27th Nov 2021 13:33

Despite the current contretemps with our illustrious neighbours
across the Channel about "this and that", I can understand their
stance as a nation that has sacrificed so much for their famous
secular state of "Liberty, equality and fraternity" in feeling both
indignant and ill-disposed towards those who choose to reject
La Belle France as a desirable and welcome safe haven.
Not least when a great many others would seek to live and/or
take their valued vacations there in eager anticipation of what is to be found, worked at, achieved and enjoyed.

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John Coopey

Sat 27th Nov 2021 12:59

Hand washing, indeed, Greg.
“Blame the French”
“Blame the gangs”
“Blame the politicians”
Fundamentally, the problem is that you don’t care and don’t want them here.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 27th Nov 2021 08:53

Thanks, Telboy, for pointing out my basic mistake. Thanks for almost all the other comments, too, chaps. But 'hand-wringing'? Hand-washing, perhaps


Sat 27th Nov 2021 00:49

Bit of a misnomer Greg as the original Dunkirk was all about repatriation.

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Graham Sherwood

Fri 26th Nov 2021 22:53

The titular comparison you make to 1939-1945 speaks volumes. Interesting that we can immediately halt the threat of viral invasion from South Africa due due a new strain of Covid-19 but seem powerless to hold back a flotilla of inflatable paddling pools.
As to inequality, the words of a former employer of mine continue to ring in my ears.
If it were possible to divide up equally the global wealth of this planet at midnight tonight, by 00.01am there would be millionaires and beggars.
I'm afraid the UK isn't the end of the rainbow. It is a shame that these unfortunate souls have to endure such hardship and trauma to find that out for themselves.
A thought-provoking poem that stirs the cauldron of emotions in us all.

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Stephen Gospage

Fri 26th Nov 2021 21:06

A fine poem, Greg. This needed to be said. The spectacle of politicians trying to pass the buck while people smugglers apparently operate with impunity on their territories is very sad. Let's hope that this tragedy leads to an agreement on some kind of safe passage for the migrants, who are just a pawn in this game.

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John Coopey

Fri 26th Nov 2021 16:35

MC- Not sure you grasp that while ever we have something that they don’t, whether it be opportunity, safety, wealth, etc, they will continue to try to come.

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Greg Freeman

Fri 26th Nov 2021 16:22

Thanks, John, for your comments, and empathy.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 26th Nov 2021 14:38

But the questions will not go away, despite the handwringing
over avoidable tragedy. The political failure is eye-watering.
Odd how an age that sees increasing irreversible automation
that is readily supplanting human activity and welcomed as a
way to relieve working people of drudgery, is blithely ignored.
when talking about "needing" labour from who knows where -
(and we don't know the answer to the latter, do we?) .

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John Coopey

Fri 26th Nov 2021 09:57

Well said, Greg. And it will only get worse with the mass migration caused by climate change. We haven’t recognised the root cause - global inequality. And when we do we won’t be prepared to share.

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