were falling like leaves, like rain from the heavens.
I did not want to fall.
My younger brother could not keep up...
my mother, saving us, could not keep up.
Later, when the soldiers left
and I was alone
choking on the smoke of those
I looked for angels,
or a god who would explain.
I saw only the sun, shining through
Donna Read, May 2004
all rights reserved
I am not a very political animal but I can feel the pain of others both here in my small world as well as in the larger context. No blame can be affixed to any of it, after all, we are not long from the trees. Let us all try to live as if we were all the people of the world.
"All pain inflicted on others is a blight on our own souls." This goes to the smallest of complaints to the largest of inequities. There are no innocents.
So, off my soapbox I fall. A small bruise reminds me that I am not exempt.
(Posted on the Atlantic Monthly Online website)
Copyright 2004, Donna Read
Seattle, Washington, USA
Offertory song for the new millennium
Give thanks to God for loving men and lambs,
for giving us this Earth to make or break;
give thanks for brains and hearts and blood on hands,
for things that mankind does for heaven's sake.
Give thanks that we who once kept gods alive
with songs of praise and hopes of paradise,
who lit the sacred fires, sharpened knives
and slaughtered countless lambs in sacrifice,
no longer have the need to slit lamb's throats
no longer say our prayers with holy smoke,
much cleaner using greed and Third World debt,
much simpler to say prayers with hijacked jets
and graft, corruption, bribes and well hedged bets,
indifference, lies, half truths, and outright theft.
Give thanks to God for loving men and lambs.
Thank God he's not too fussy which he gets.
Copyright 2004, Dennis Greene,
all rights reserved
byJane FlowersakaWoryn Jay
New Zealand (originally from Zimbabwe)
There's a hotel on an African corner
Where the children come daily to dance
For one little piece of your silver
They sing, they cavort and they prance.
And their antics are really quite charming
They will pose for a cute photograph
And isn't it just so enchanting
How their teeth flash white when they laugh.
The culture shock is your pleasure
The ambience sultry and hot.
And your dollars spent will measure
How many parents are shot.
Copyright 2004, Jane Flowers
The Long Leaving
by Katherine L. Gordon
Rain ages to drought over writhing rows
of plow incisions,
garden gates hinge open
to let frayed garlands
of the dedication times
tumble and drift
on abandoned dream-scapes,
a piped lament divides sky and earth
shredding the flesh of binding,
young girls bow heads,
heavy glory on slim stalks,
weeping through their unbound hair
as the long boxes pass.
The fields bleed lilies.
Katherine L. Gordon, Canada
Copyright, May, 2005
A CROWD GATHERED AT THE WALLS OF AL JUNAYNAH
by Andrew Grossman,USA
Physical fitness, mental soundness and social well-being
Constitute the main characteristics of a healthy person.
Not a single person is considered as completely healthy.
Hence, the urgent need to rehabilitate.
A number of primary health care units are operating.
The first step is to walk to the nearest unit.
If you do not know where to find a facility,
contact the local militia for directions.
The militia is responsible for law and order.
It will improve the environment
for the return of normality in the life of the people.
It will help you toward the road of healthy existence.
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Copyright 2004, all rights reserved
by Safi Abdi (author)
If She Survives (a poem on the predicament of the Somali woman)
Poem: If She Survives
It's her fate to suffer the foolish
The only glue cementing the ruins
A dried flower without the care.
She feeds the baby
And keeps the man on board, too.
An expert in ducking bullets
Graceful to the core
In the flowing dress's a veteran,
Voiceless in a tragedy absurd.
Her plight no hairs ruffle
Her hopes neglected remain
Overwhelmed by men
Sightless in the daylight
She hawks her wares
In the sunlit mess;
Knowing God counts her woes.
If she survives this reckless age
It's no thanks to the man on board.
(Copyright: Safi Abdi, 2004) all rights reserved
IIn the Arena.
byRobin Ouzman Hislop, U.K.
deep in the dark they goad through a tunnel blinking
into blinding explode, wooden spears sinking
blooded brown matted hair, a roaring growling bear
entering arena, where crowds thirst massacre.
we are each one that bear, we are each one that crowd
made in our despair, as we cry out aloud
unto the sun sent day, our lust for spilt blood
on the shifting sands fey, where our lives are rubbed
out. mortal tragedies, destined we compound, bound
in anomynities, to their funeral mounds;
now the gladiators enter the arena:
double, double, double in toil & trouble;
the crowd from their tiers with fluttering banners
mumble, stumble, tumble, crumble into rubble.
CopyrightRobin Ouzman Hislop2004
All rights reserved.
Ch'erie de Perrott.
Ah yes Poverty abounds
as welled brewed pot of coffee grounds
bellies stricken with aching need
from all colours, race and creed
Shame be though as plentiful offers
to fill visonary/missionary coffers
ne'er forth in enthusiasm leaps
whilst wrenching hunger untoward reeks
A Dime a Dollar, Euro or Yen
is all that's needed forthcoming when
humanitarians knock upon the door
pleading freedom and hunger no more
There's plenty to go around
why wait till needy go to ground
dig deep a thought spared
turns needless sorrow to live's reared
Whilst on earth the Lord he gave
his Kingly time to that of slave
he owned nothing of earthly treasure
concerned only for Man's measure
Home and pillow he denied himself
crown O Glory left on heavenly shelf
the greatest epitome of humanity
selfless drudgery were known to Thee
Apathetic excuses render nought
heartfelt causes we should support
while thanking the Lord on daily basis
for we live compared, in bounty's Oasis
Ch'erie de Perrott
Homo Homini Lupus Sustained
byRichard James Van der Draaij
Editor of Ancient Hearts Magazine
Holland by way of the U.K.
Proud women bear the scars of war,
their absent menfolk's hopes and dreams.
The lives of those now lost and more,
still moving gently - kind, it seems.
Men are bigger than they are
when they smite each other down.
God's Kingdom still so very far,
while savagery does wear a crown.
Tears of holy thoughts still linger,
something decent must respond.
Amid the bloodbath points a finger
to Love, of which we once were fond.
Richard James Van der Draaij
Copyright 2004, all rights reserved
by Virginia Westbook
Des Moines, IA, USA
Aree was a gem among Sudanese girls, she glowed with the radiance of ebony pearls.
Her skin was as smooth and dark as the night,
her smile, the essence of warmth and light.
One night Janjaweeds stormed through her village,
killed her family and took all they could pillage.
Aree tried to run but she could not escape,
Eight Janjaweeds beat her, then took turns in her rape.
A woman named Casma found Aree near a shed,
where vicious Janjaweeds had left her for dead.
She removed duct tape that had Aree bound,
then picked her up from the damp filthy ground.
Casma knew she’d better not wait,
Aree seemed to be in a graven state.
The woman dropped down to her knees
and prayed, “Lord help this child, please.”
Aree withstood more then any child should take
she had courage and a will that was hard to break.
Aree’s temperature was 104° yet she felt cold,
her fight was valiant but king death took hold.
Aree hung on through great chills and moans,
this woman-child, now only skin and bones.
Finality flashed across her small ashen face,
She was buried in a white dress trimmed in lace…
Aree saw her sisters, and grabbed their hands,
they laughed, they pranced on the cool wet sands.
Death and sorrow are things of Aree’s past,
She’s with her family now and is happy, at last.
V. K. Westbrook
A Song Of Africa
by George Carroll
We haven't ignored
The plight of
Those on a distant shore.
Whose starving masses
Lay dying in the dust
No food or grain in store
The swollen bellies
And tearful eyes
That tomorrow may not see.
And many have sung
A song to this sight
That moved the world's
Heart over night.
Many lives this song saved
For the money people gave
Brought hope where existed none
We can only hope and pray
Starvation has had its day
And our love the battle has won.
byDr. Karen Springer,
New Jersey, USA
They are not like us.
Strange, extreme beliefs they flaunt;
So kill them
To get the oil we want.
They are not like us.
Their skin is black as night;
So rape the helpless women
Until that race turns white.
They are not like us.
So have their children sold
To be camel racers and sex slaves.
We’re entitled to the gold.
They are not useful to us
So look with blinded eyes
As Hutus exterminate Tutsis.
What matter if they die?
They are not our reflection
So we’re wolves and they’re our prey.
Why do we watch these holocausts
Then simply turn away?
Dr. Karen R. Springer
byJohn Horvath Jr.
Editor, Poetry Repair Shop
I fell next to him. His body rolled over.
It was tight as a string before it snaps.
The men all piss
nine miles from here
the haystacks and houses burn
men, animals, wagons, and thoughts.
They are swelling
bodies dreamy eyed
unwilling to live
here in the mountains
among frightening rumors.
For me, there are grasshoppers, oxen, church steeples,
In the grass, it is growing dark.
And in time, silence drizzles again.
A world of nothing but water!
Water to fill narrow gutters,
bursting, overflow murky
The woman touches her bun
of thinning hair. She laughs.
The traveler stands in frozen tableau
surrounded by drowsy old men
who wish to ask why he returned now.
From early morning they stood at the gate,
shuffling their feet, coughing now and then
Where's my father now? Where? Where's my pride of those days?
I became a rainbow, and he maggoty clay.
You do not fathom it, though you outlive me.
You raced against danger: for as long
as you glided soaked to the skin; but, she feels not a thing.
They were shouting in a language foreign to me,
yet as intelligibly and with words as clear-
shining as the brilliant glitter of the sun
we have gone
["Torte" includes lines from poems by Miklos Radnoti,Ferenc Juhasz,
and Gyula Illyes]
John Horvath Jr.
Buried in the Sand
by Annette Nasser
Bearded old man, are you
really who you say you are?
Do you disguise the facade
hiding beneath truth or lies?
Innocence looks upon you
yet some say looks are deceiving.
Perhaps you play upon
others' feelings, creating
trust among the brotherhood
only to act upon the naive at the end?
Under the turban, lies
an ordinary, simple-looking, old man.
Beard longer than his hair, laying
gently upon his chest, well-tanned and wrinkled,
he has aged in years
and his stories have been told of the past,
now old, one can view,
hear of his ancient life in appearance.
Does terror lie hidden in his stories told,
to act upon, to have already played?
He looks at all with eyes that see beyond the crowded street.
He stands and while he gazes,
silently, some feel terror; others who stare, see solitude.