I hear the voices at the station
In the pub on Friday nights
Heard them on the bus this morning
Again, at noon, at traffic lights.
There is boy, the whispers tell me
He is begging for a home
He asks for bread, a drink, so thirsty
We answer with a stone.
Over jagged mountains stumbled
Passed through mist and vales of cloud
Into donkey cart he tumbles
Never speaks a word out loud.
Now he hides in caves and creek beds
Now he’s eating grass and dirt
Now he’s crying for his mother
His shoe is gone, he’s lost his shirt.
Soon his skin and flesh are creeping
They can smell his sweat and fear
Soldiers passing hear him breathing
Sunlight shines on guns, so near.
On he plods, long desert days
On sun baked earth and heat
Nights are black and cold and lonely
Steps are slowing, blistered feet.
Gave a man his money bag
The journey’s end in sight
Fights to stay alive throughout
That endless all night flight.
A boat, a bay an ocean deep
His skin is red and cracked
We’ll get there soon the crew, they say
From now, no turning back.
The sea is smooth and then a storm
Of black waves and damnation
The boat is rent from prow to stern
He prays for God’s salvation.
Some men they come the shore is near
The wind it blows a gale
He gives the men his date of birth
They lock him up into jail.
He’s shut up there in limbo land
Unloved and all alone
Forever and forever more
Until the cows come home.
When you ask me how I know this
Where I hear this tale so bleak
Show me proof of what you’re telling
Give me proof of what you speak.
How to tell you where I heard it
On the wind and in the air
Heard it from an airport cleaner
He saw the boy upon the stair.
Heard it from the postman’s neighbour
The plumber’s wife from down the road
Heard it from the builder's widow
Heard it from a nun who knows.
Today I hear his mind is failing
Without a soul to know or care
But where to find him, how to save him?
A boy who really isn’t there.