Sheltered / Seeking Shelter

We stood on the deck of our cruise ship, warm and comfortable, having just eaten our fill for breakfast in a beautiful dining room. The night before, we’d had wine with dinner and our choice of four entrees. We were returning to the ship’s home port in Florida, to then return to our highrise condominium in Boston.

The Captain’s voice was clear and strong over the loudspeakers. “There is a small boat of refugees on our starboard side. We have alerted the Coast Guard and will hold our position until they arrive. We believe in safety at sea for all. This will not impede our itinerary. We will arrive at our home port as scheduled.“

A small boat bobbed in the ocean, the people barely distinguishable except to see they were crowded in what looked like a rubber raft. It looked so low in the water, as if it was barely staying afloat. When the Coast Guard arrived more than an hour after the announcement, our ship moved away quickly. We only saw the Coast Guard approach the refugees. We never knew what happened to them.

cherry tree blooms pink
robin sits in feathered nest
mole burrows in darkness

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Mish asks us to consider the word “shelter” in our haibun: two or three succinct paragraphs of prose that are nonfiction/autobiographical, followed by a classic haiku.

Photo is from November 2021, when we took a cruise in the Caribbean. It was sobering to see in reality, what we’d read about in newspapers and heard about in the news.

17 thoughts on “Sheltered / Seeking Shelter

  1. Joyce August 29, 2022 / 2:09 pm

    How very desperate people have to be to go on open water on a flotation device that small!


    • Lauren August 30, 2022 / 12:34 am

      This is exactly where my mind went.


  2. rogblog666 August 29, 2022 / 3:19 pm

    what a contrast. To be honest cruise ships are not my thing. hope they got to safety.


  3. Mish August 29, 2022 / 3:47 pm

    The contrast is glaring and an image like that can really make one re-evaluate their own situations/hardships. To take that risk for a safer alternative is something most of us can’t even imagine. The last line of your haiku made my heart drop, thinking of the darkness of danger, poverty, homelessness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. merrildsmith August 29, 2022 / 3:48 pm

    Oh wow, Lillian. Like others, I note the contrast. What a jolt of reality. I hope they found a safe haven.


  5. msjadeli August 29, 2022 / 3:53 pm

    As others have commented, what a striking contrast between the haves and the have-nots. I couldn’t help but notice the tacit understanding when the captain announced that the ship would wait as long as it didn’t inconvenience any of the people on board.


  6. kim881 August 29, 2022 / 4:07 pm

    What a stark juxtaposition of seafarers, Lill. It must have been an eye-opener for everyone on the cruise ship. People complain about the numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel, but they don’t realise what a risk they are taking to find asylum. I’m glad the cruise company believes in safety at sea for all. The haibun reflects the prose beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glenn A. Buttkus August 29, 2022 / 4:11 pm

    These days fiction pales in the face of reality; very touching piece. Desperation oozes between the lines; your contrasts are so vivid, like seeing those pre-teen girls carrying AK-47’s in the Ukraine.


  8. Gillena Cox August 29, 2022 / 4:21 pm

    Ah yes the haiku resonates the yin and yang of that scene at sea. Nice one.

    Much 💖 love


  9. Rob Kistner August 29, 2022 / 6:26 pm

    What a fascinating share Lillian. What a contrast of realities played out on the open sea. It makes me reflect on what I just share with David — there but for the grace of god… ✌🏼❤️


  10. Nitin Lalit August 29, 2022 / 7:07 pm

    A sad reality in so many ways. I hope the refugees found safety. It’s painful when you think of people fleeing their homes and country, but the world isn’t a fair place.


  11. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing August 29, 2022 / 7:27 pm

    Doesn’t that just stop you in your tracks? These things are like the universe poking us, reminding us that there are those so much more less fortunate. I know your heart went out to them Lillian. Such brave souls and I hope they arrived safely were welcomed ❤️


  12. Misky August 30, 2022 / 6:25 am

    Interesting that the captain announced that the ETA remained unchanged. For the people in that inflatable, everything will change.


  13. Mary (tqhousecat) August 30, 2022 / 7:34 am

    I especially love your haiku. Thank God for the Coast Guard who protect us in obscure waters.


  14. abigfatcanofworms August 31, 2022 / 7:21 am

    So thought-provoking! Your haiku is a perfect ending. I wonder what happened to those poor people.


  15. ben Alexander September 1, 2022 / 8:01 am

    Wow, Lillian… do you know where the refugees were from?



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