Into Exile

As nineteenth century Poland’s
borders and peoples swirled
in tumultuous upheavals with
fast shifting eddies landowners
sent bailiffs with stock whips
to drive their peasant tenants
to their three chartered
seagoing ships at the port.

Cracking whips herded this
human flock on board these
vessels separating kith from
kin, young from old, children
from parents. Crossing ten
thousand miles of ocean
for three months they were
offloaded at Taranaki’s
port in New Zealand with
only the clothes they wore.

Reunited at last they started
their new life in rough
immigrants’ barracks. Their
new land had assisted ships’
fares for farming labourers.

There was no money for
homeward fares to their
faraway home land where
their homes no longer stood.

Previously posted September 2017.

Into Exile

3 thoughts on “Into Exile

    1. It really was. Sadly it happened a lot. There are really horrible stories of what was done to peasant farmers in Scotland during the clearances in the late 18th early 19th centuries. Similar clearances happened in England much earlier on. But they were simply driven off their land. Sending these Polish peasants half way round the planet was even more brutal. It is still not widely known here either. One of their descendants told me during a break at a teacher conference.

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    2. WordPress said your comment about your grandfather was spam and very quickly deleted it. So I reply here, and say that many of those”cleared” felt it as a personal wound. It was all a horrific misuse of power to gain more personal wealth at the expense of many so much poorer than themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

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