A Lorryload of Death


“Sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy, seventy-one”

A slam, a twist, a click and the light is gone.

“Just for a while, till the border is clear”

Says the man from Lebanon, “Have no fear”

“It’s a meat lorry so have no worry.

They’ll never suspect you’re in here”


‘Please, Allah, make him an honourable man,

Do not give him twisted lips or a black heart,

Let the light in his soul shine through

And not be blocked by a bulging wallet.’


Devoid of space and time, packed in the dark,

The desperate recite their ‘Allah Akbar’;

A Syrian’s hot sour breath on my cheek,

Is it tomorrow, later today or next week?

Children sobbing, collapsed on the floor

While a Kurd with a knife scrapes at the door.


‘Where is light? Where is light?’

Escapes from his parched lips,

Then the engine stops, a door slams

And time like blood drip-drip-drips.

We are eyeless cargo in an abandoned truck,

Praying no deal with the devil has been struck.


Then the dark is holed; a pinprick of light appears,

Too late, my Kurdish friend, to quell our fears;

The screams have ceased, all throats are dry

The last set of lungs has emitted its cry.


Passers-by see red liquid dripping from closed doors;

The police are called, bolt-cutters and brute force.


And now light floods in and death flies out,

Communicating the manifest of its horror

To the outside world where people are sitting

In front of phones and computers,

Shaking their heads in disbelief,

Sharing their international grief,

‘How could they do that, inflict such misery,

Deprive the homeless of life, light and liberty?

Time passes, the seventy-one now a part of the throng

Whatever happens, we must keep our borders strong.


Alan Combes   A lorryload of death

© Alan Combes, 2019. All Rights Reserved

Alan Combes