Tag Archive: war


a child of war and terror

art by banksy





a child of war and terror.



 


as she lies bleeding,


the girl who skipped, hopped to school,


all of nine and a half years old,


with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.


 



as she lies bleeding,


shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,


she stares at her skipping rope,


blood soaking it the colour of cherries her mother buys.


 



as she lies bleeding,


she sees human shapes all around, thick in the black smoke,


blurred visions of scattering feet, 


shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.


 



as she lies bleeding,


she slips away and then she is dead,


a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,


whose laugh was her father’s pride.


 


 


as she lies bleeding,


even in death she bleeds some more,


shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,


stealing the light from her bright innocent eyes.




as she lies bleeding …



in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

johannesburg in ’93,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

beirut in ‘85,

hanoi in ‘68,


st. bernadino,

manchester,

baghdad,

brussels,

london,

tripoli,

miami,

jenin,

paris,

kabul,

raqqa,

basra,

mosul,

gaza,



aleppo still.


 


as she lies bleeding,


a little nine and a half year old girl,


whose laugh was her parent’s pride,


we know she’ll bleed more,


tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,


with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.


 

as she lies bleeding,


a child of war and terror.






art from google








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repost: a child of war

​I am so pained to be reposting these poems. It seems like the so-called leaders and those who carry out wanton violence in the name of religion and caste, gender, land, wherever they may come from, are dragging our world further into the callous abyss of bloodletting. It cannot go on this way. It must not go on this way. It must not be allowed to go on this way. I am helplessly wishing for peace inspite of the orgy of violence and death that seems to have consumed this fragile planet we all call home.




a child of war…


 

as she lies bleeding,

the girl who skipped, hopped to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.


 


as she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.


 


as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.


 


as she lies bleeding,

she slips away and then she is dead,

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her father’s pride.


 


 


as she lies bleeding,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.




as she lies bleeding …


in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

new york in ’01,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,


raqqa, london,

basra, mosul,

yemen, paris,

now.


 


as she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

we know she’ll bleed more,


tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,


with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.


 


as she lies bleeding …

idealistic dreams

​when joy flaps its wings, soaring into boundless skies, all despair recedes, dusted off as hope freely flies, high to that exalted place, where smiles are worn on every face, where mirth bursts open all closed gates, showering all in its midst with kinder fates, where the world is no longer a slave to war, and peace reigns forever more.


an idealistic hope, though this may be, will we ever know if we do not try and see, to build a better, kinder, gentler world for all, where pained tears no longer into dust do fall …


( apologies but had to rewrite this piece )



the stench of xenophobia …  … …



1.


when rancid racism strikes,

in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into our consciousness as we sleep.




2.



racist beliefs held so true, so deep,

stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded as compassion,

feeds the conceit in chests swollen and rotten with self-righteous passion.




3.



the racist xenophobia once firmly entrenched,

envelopes all, not unlike a comforting shawl,

needing more and more bluster to fester, and to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, and new fashioned  hate.



4.




are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, and shovelling more, always more onto our heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated stasis, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, gay-bashing,

as the proliferation of anti hindu, muslim, christian, buddhist, and anti people of african and arab heritage and anti-indigenous and anti-semitic and misogynistic drivel and xenophobia,


continues to belch into the polluted air.

on the precipice 

​on the precipice.



less than a hundred years ago, the most technologically advanced nation on earth fought two world wars.


in the second of which, a concerted, highly mechanised, and utterly ruthless campaign was orchestrated to kill every man, woman, and child of a specific religious group – 6 million souls perished in that barbaric attempt.


there were tens of millions of dead throughout the world at the end of that world war. 


nuclear weapons were used for the first time to horrendous effect on the people of hiroshima and nagasaki – effects of which are being felt still.


all of this happened during a time of “progress” in the fields of science, technology, medicine, amongst other human endeavours that were hailed as great leaps forward for the human race. 


the ideas of individuality were supressed by the rabid jingoism of nationalism and appeals to baser human emotions. 


robust intellectual discourse was overshadowed by the instilling of fear of the “other”. 


human beings were seen as fodder for the wars that were fought – both cold and military wars. 


this idea of “us” and “them” on a grand scale persisted until less than thirty years ago, and it’s talons are sunk deep within the mindsets of many today.


there is the simplistic nature of political discourse that once again pits “us” versus “them”. 


there is the maniacal jingoism that appeals to the very worst of human emotions. 


the most powerful technology is being usurped by the powerful to keep the weak in “check”.


today, once again, appears to be the age of the demagogue.


the politics of hate and fear is being promulgated by the very powerful against the not-so powerful.


entire races of people are being made scapegoats, entire religions are being vilified, entire ways of life, and of loving are being branded as being “sinful”.


wars of aggression are being waged, human beings once again cannon fodder for the powerful.


people are living under the jackboot of oppression and occupation.


the obscenity of the accruing of personal wealth trumps the needs of the many. 


following the two world wars that were fought less than a hundred years ago, the world came together and said “never again”.


the time is now for those two words to take on a new meaning. 



never again!

to the nameless soldier …

Your orders may come now…

…or at 19h45 this evening.

‘Shoot to kill’
‘Engage the enemy’
‘Hold the line’
‘Break up the gathering’

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you have felt too

the stab of hunger
the bite of thirst
the bayonet of loss
the wound of despair

but you have seen too

the pain in a mother’s eyes
the grief in a father’s face
the incomprehension in a child’s down-cast look

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you, the nameless soldier have heard

the cries of the grieving family
the wailing of the widowed wife
the quiet agonizing sound of the child’s weeping

‘Ready, aim, fire’

your orders may come now
or at 23h30 tonight
or tomorrow
or the day after that
or next week or month or year

but you have seen and felt and heard too

the agony of a peoples’ simple desire
the hurt of a nation long bludgeoned
the wounds of your stolen generation

so when that order comes

now

or at 03h30 tomorrow morning
‘Ready, aim, fire’

let your humanity muzzle your rifle
let your conscience dismiss the order
let your better side come to the fore

and let your very own people, your mother and your father, your sister and your brother, your son and your daughter, your friend and your lover
let them live
let them be
let your rifle fall to the soil of your beloved motherland

o’ nameless soldier.

Dirge for Aleppo

as she lies bleeding,

the girl who skipped, hopped to school,

all of nine and a half years old,

with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her father’s pride.
 

as she lies bleeding,

shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,

she stares at her skipping rope,

as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she sees people all around thick black smoke,

blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,

hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.
 

as she lies bleeding,

she slips away and then she is dead,

a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her father’s pride.
 
 

as she lies bleeding,

for even in death she bleeds some more,

shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,

stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …
in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,

leningrad in ‘42,

freetown in ‘98,

soweto in ‘76,

jenin in ‘02,

hanoi in ‘68,

beirut in ‘85,
raqqa now,

aleppo still.

 

as she lies bleeding,

a little nine and a half year old girl,

whose laugh was her parent’s pride,

we know she’ll bleed more,
tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,
with shrapnel in her stomach,

ripped open and torn.
as she lies bleeding … …




( what is shocking is that this poem was written a few years ago and titled ‘a child of war’, and that it still holds true. a damning indictment on the powerful and the war-mongerers. tragically heartbreaking )

As Aleppo Burns 

forked tongues slither in the corridors of power,

as Aleppo burns.


realpolitik plays out on mounds of corpses,

as Aleppo burns.


humanity crawls away to hide,


as Aleppo burns.

apples and spinach … … …

​the foul odour of scarred flesh.


the reeking decomposition.


bodies once animated, once so alive, now strewn across the moist ground.



the surgical strike.


pin-point accuracy.



the smartest weapons, deployed, to decimate the bad guys.



black and brown people, more often than not, pummeled to a pulp, black and blue.



while LCD screens miles away, surveill, scanning for potential targets, the unknown other.



the evil doers,



as mothers and daughters, pick out apples and spinach


in a market-place in the cross-hairs

I remember her beret,

on that rainy day at the bus-stop, 


she said that she had grown tired of the pretences this world demanded,


we spoke of Marx and she smiled, for I was much younger then, wearing it all on my sleeve,


she smiled, and we spoke till she had to leave.


we met at that bus-stop many times more,


sharing our laughter, our pain, of the knots that cut deep into our core,


she always wore her beret and she was fierce, brave and steadfastly traversing the murky waters of being a wage-slave,


we promised each other we wouldn’t be like the rest, not even in our grave,


ah but that was many moons back, when life was starkly coloured white and black,


I wonder where she could be now, and I hope she is as she was back then,


when everything wasn’t just about love and light and being zen,


I wonder too were we to perchance meet, would she pull me close out of the grime stained street,


or would she walk on by, leaving me to my own devices,


after decades of being whittled down, after making all the right choices … … …

​on your skin, scribbling odes to love,
angry, lost, empty,

raucous, pristine, encompassing love.
on my heart, scribbled odes embossed, etched, engraved,
yearning, pining, aching,
for you … … …


destiny

fate


somewhere

someplace


alfoat on honeydew petals


mere strands


filaments


years trickling through

fingertips


lost whispers

dreamed caresses


awake

alive …



smouldering

ablaze in the cauldron


of


destiny

fate


of convergent wisps

sprinkling kisses


on your

honeydew lips


we shall always be many more

we who roast in your designer factories

our brows dripping salty sweat

we who forgive but shall never forget


we shall always be many more

we reek of cheap moonshine

we stagger and often stumble

our stomachs never ceasing to rumble


we shall always be many more

we polish your fine bone china

our pay gets docked if a cup gets chipped

our children to wars get shipped


we shall always be many more

we clean up after your pretty children

our kids are hungry, naked and callously swept

into bowels of desolation, as mothers’ tears are wept


we shall always be many more

we do your dirty work every day

you treat us like vermin, foul and rotten

our dignity always forgotten


we shall always be many more

we will rise up, seizing the standard of hope

reclaiming what is common for daughters and sons

always squarely in the cross-hairs of your guns


we shall always be many more

and there shall be many more of us to come

to rid you of your smug arrogance, endless greed

yes we too have children we have to feed


we shall always be many more

‘and the meek shall inherit the earth’

or something like that though we no longer care

for we shall rise up demanding our common share


we shall always be many more … … …


( with thanks to Ken Loach’s film ‘Tierra y Libertad’

breathless … …

​breathless, laboured

               tortured


each breath

                     swallowed


greedily gulping gasping


each breath

                    stolen

                               without you

​your fingers

mine


sketching dreams

scribbling hopes


my fingers

yours


holding back

resistant


knowing the path ahead

littered with thorns


oblivious

knowing


the path ahead must be walked


alone at times 

but never lonely 


not with you by my side

evoking a belonging felt true and deep


inside

these interwoven veins

dna

double-helixed


microscopically

binding


me

you


us

all


through

this common

shared

truth:


‘I am because you are’*


all of us

together

as one


me

you …


… uBuntu*




  


* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

imagine … … …

a beach of solace


the lapping waves

tickling our bare toes


softly powdered sand caressing our feet


a carpet of palms

waltzing in the breeze


imagine …


you

i


setting sail on distant seas


far

far

away


bidding adieu to the emptiness of yesterday


sharing each other

knowing that your

smile


stays with me

within me


through

tomorrows we have still to see


sharing

our slice of peace


through

laughter

tears


through

joy

fears


to

bloom in earthy hues


when thunderstorms pass


blossoming into fiery scarlet


kneading away

our hollow suburban blues …


for ’tis in your smile

that my mirth resides


imagine …


your head on my shoulder


ready to face all

oncoming tides



imagine … 

​misty tears fall on splintered parchment


history simmers


the shackles of centuries cast off


the chains of oppression shattered


embracing new horizons


dawning

and

trusting once again

in that unfinished dream


of less famished tomorrows

scribbling verses

on her bare back


my fingers

rhyming

each flourish a caress

etching odes to hope

across the canvas


of her warm skin …



her breath

inflamed


seeking


fingertips

lips

sashaying in the evening breeze

dancing free

abandoning trepidation


what do i know

as 

fingers flutter


over undulating peaks

valleys …


softly

gently


as soul meets soul

she who is

half of my whole

she who remains


my perennial

meditation






 …





straining to hear

the thud-thudding of your heart


amidst this cacophonous crowd.



so

i close my eyes


and

i see you


floating on clouds

unfettered

free to just be


your wings spread proud

unclipped


skipping

hopping

across sunbeams


sketching your open sky


bathed in

colours vivid

alive


fiery

earthy

warm

fierce

gentle


each 

brush stroke


infused with hues


from 

the palette of your dreams …












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