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