Sonnet I: The Open Island by Adam Barrett

Content Warning: Disturbing Imagery

See the pain of one but not the other 

A skinned dog but not the starving mother

A tortured animal but not the child 

Ruined lands by us always seen so mild

They starve them, kill them, care less for our world

We shoot them, bomb them, a Union unfurled

Done in justice, planting rage in their home

Theirs done in greed, from a culture syndrome

Fear not the boat upon the ‘English’ shore

The war-stricken sailors seek nothing more 

Than a life for their children free from harm

Kept afloat by dreams of safety and calm

Ours is privilege, a life without fear

So stand up, reach out, to those coming here.

About this piece

Adam Barrett is a Literature MA student who hasn’t done anything like this before with poetry. It’s a ‘modern’ take on a sonnet. I’m sure you’ll see it, but it’s a comparison of the Western empathetic responses to the treatment of animals in other parts of the world, like with dog festivals, and the lack of empathy towards refugees who also fight for their lives. 

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