Out of City

Where is it leading, this unlovely highway,
potholed main drag, bruised and beaten track?

Across the river, to the city limits.
Onward to the mountains or the sea.

Where are they going, these encumbered travellers,
saying little, never looking back?

As if they knew. They only know the city
which was theirs is not theirs. So they flee.

What might they hope for at their destination?
Simple safety and a queue for bread.

Will acts of special kindness in this crisis
ease the hardship of the road ahead?

Unfortunately not. The human virtues
falter in conditions of distress.

What is the meaning of this mass displacement?
Search for it in human wickedness.

Listen to this poem — read by the author