The refugee crisis is one of the biggest problems facing the world right now. According to the UNHCR, there are more than 50 million people across the globe who have had to flee their homes.
But with economic uncertainty and incidences of terror, it is perhaps understandable that people in relatively much safer countries feel the need to pull up the drawbridge.
All too often, however, that means that innocent men, women and children living in extreme hardship are turned away or not welcomed.
This week, following the awful events in Brussels, a seemingly dark poem about refugees has been shared thousands of times online.
Read it here:
Here is a new poem entitled "Refugees". Please bear with it. pic.twitter.com/hREWTO6DrU— Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) March 23, 2016
And now read it backwards, one line at a time
I think it's the combination of the topic with the format - read from top to bottom, it's the kind of extreme, uncaring position that makes you - well, me at least - increasingly incensed and incredulous - so the reversal acts as a kind of relief. You've had to go on a journey to get there.
The poet explained that he'd been working on writing something in this format for a while - taking inspiration from The Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed - but just couldn't nailed down the topic:
Originally I was thinking of something more comic (that's mainly what I do) but then it suddenly occurred to me that refugeeism lended itself perfectly to this approach.
It's a topic that polarises opinions and so to be able to take one extreme approach and then play it back on itself to come up with a far more humane position gave it its power, I think.
Bilston has a book of his poems - You Took the Last Bus Home - due to be published by Unbound in time for National Poetry Day in October.