Every line of “Refugee Blues” is end-stopped. The poem never uses enjambment. The end-stops in the poem contribute significantly to its rhythm—and, at the same time, underline the sense of isolation and exclusion the speaker feels.
The end-stops contribute to the rhythm of the poem by making each line feel definite and complete. Sometimes, this emphasizes the poem’s rhymes—making the ring out more clearly and distinctly. But, of course, not all the lines in the poem rhyme. The third line of each stanza doesn’t rhyme at all. Those lines feel lonely, isolated, cut-off. The end-stops contribute to that sense of isolation—since they work to further separate those lines from the rest of the poem.
Indeed, the poem’s strong and strict use of end-stop echoes the plight of the refugees. For instance, the end-stops in lines 10-12 reflect and amplify the problems with the speaker’s passport:
The consul banged the table and said,
“If you’ve got no passport you’re legally dead”:
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.
The end-stops not only function as barriers between lines, they also echo the barriers between countries—barriers that the speaker cannot cross. In a poem without enjambments, these end-stops feel increasingly claustrophobic: there is no relief from them, no release, where the reader freely and easily crosses from one line to the next. Instead, like the speaker, the reader encounters borders and barriers everywhere they turn.