Manus Island
a guard’s boot
crushes the wildflower

Myron Lysenko


This haiku evokes pain in the poet. He feels the weight of something beautiful destroyed, a sense of profound sadness. Each line emphasises a sense of loss and loneliness and urges the reader to hope and pray for survival and acceptance, kindness and love of humanity. In its natural beauty, the wildflower symbolises the preciousness of life. The crushing of the wildflower is likened to the crushing of the spirit.

As readers we see the faces of around 500 men displaced, isolated on a small island off Papua New Guinea with over 40,000 local residents with whom there is little or no contact. They are full of longing and despair, victims of self harm and depression. Many hang on, trying to create positivity in borrowed safety, almost all of them genuine refugees.

A haiku with a confronting message you might hope politicians to understand and acknowledge as they continue to keep details of these detentions shrouded in secrecy along with a media unable or unwilling to tell the deeper truth of compassion.

Selection and comments by Margaret Mahony

Haiku first published: Windfall issue 6, 2018


It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
(Irish proverb)

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