CHILDREN OF WAR
War is all some children have seen
Pain a fact of life
Misery a constant
Watching love ones come and go
Die before the beast they too well know
They think this barbarity normal
Guns… dust… noise as usual
Playing in a bombed out building
Quivering atop the remains of civilization.
These precious little ones
Play somber games of war
In the streets
Among rubble once their home
In paddies amid danger
On sand dunes
Rife with uncertainty
Filled with deepening despair.
Will they adjust to stay alive
Their holocaust survive?
children of Kabul
Children sway in war’s voracious wind like reeds
Their very childhood bleeds
Singing songs of annihilation
Blowing in wavering wind like a rhyme
Born in the wrong place, at the wrong time
Doomed wherever winds may blow to follow
Their pestilent lives hollow
O, the future’s in our children
These precious little ones
Who know too well
The hard edge of death
What will they grow up to be
When all around them is hatred
Should not with children dwell.
A child’s eyes are pools of wonderment
So full of hurt
Where there should be delight
Their vacant faces
Gazing with blank stares
Unfathomable terrors surrounding them
Horrors abounding in their grown-up world.
Look deep into children’s souls
As they look back in wide-eyed devastation
Their world falling down around them
Devastation all they know.
What does their future hold?
What lessons will they learn?
How can they know love
With hatred surging around them so strong?
Will they die young
never tasting the fruits of life?
O what terror rests upon their tiny souls
Eats at their hearts
Aches in their bellies
Tests their very being
When they see loved ones killed
Mother, father, brother… gone
Watching friends die in pools of blood
Their caretakers silenced
They see life as just surviving
Without the essence of being.
What is their purpose?
To witness the slaughter
From atop the rubble
Of a bombed out building
Tiny nostrils clogged
With pungent gun powder
The dust of destruction?
Will they grow up but to repeat
Scenes they’ve seen
Horrors they’ve witnessed?
Will their futures
Peering through barbed wire
Fence them out
Screen them from the world by hunger
Filled with hatred
Destined revenge to wreak
Scores to pay back
Vengeance to atone.
Or will the children, sick of hatred…
Will they ever see it’s face?
Will they ever know
It’s sweet embrace?
Will they ever feel
The comforting of peaceful balm
Hear its soothing calm
To relax in the arms of peace.
Will children even be alive
To watch war rumbling by
To see it
To grow up with it
To live… to love
Make their place in it?
Will children make a difference
Become killers, or wise sages
Be leaders of men for good
Will a childs sweet life be nipped in the bud
Before life has really begun
Without ever having dreams
Much less, having dreams fulfilled
Never to know tomorrow’s treasures?
Will they be able to see
Through fogbound nightmares
Beyond the haunting mist of terrors?
Do children feel the swirling hatred
Or numbly take it in?
How can children live in a place
Molten in humanity’s disgrace?
Here, where fear replaces love
The only thing showering down from above
Children feel not blessings
But tears in their eyes swelling
Born in a world of hating
Pain replacing tenderness
Memories made by shock and awe
Killing is the law.
Will they just be one more of the tragic lost
Swallowed by the voracious maw
Of the ogre
War’s bestial carnivore…
Their only childhood friend?
Who surrounds their days
What toys… what joys… what fears?
What apprehensions fill young lives
Where childhood monsters are real?
What if children judged us
With much to say about injustice
About being forced to grow up too quick
About daddies to war gone away
Horrors seen every day
Their introduction to death
Before they even started to live?
Which does a child understand more
The man preaching of moral imperative,
Or the gun in his hand?
Do children fear the gun… or embrace it
Do children just not comprehend it?
O, I would take up the little children
If I could
Grasp tiny hands in mine
Clutch them to my breast
Shield them from this world of harms
Stem hurtful tears
Kiss tear-streaked cheeks.
I would hug those who cruel war shackle
Those whose terrible suffering too often
War’s cruel quest ignores.
I would love them… comfort them
Show them a better place…
O, that I could carry them to safety
Illuminate that great and sacred place
Where children live happy
In a golden palace…
But where, God? Where?
Open up your arms, God
Here they come…
Children caught in tempest and whirlwind
Anguished in a swirl of hate
Running from real life bogeymen
No hope for them in this war
With no place for them
Hate wreaking violence all around them
Killing all they love… forever!
I wonder if baby Jesus were born in time of war
Would he understand?
Would the plight of the children
Bring tears to His eyes?
Would he live long enough
To plant the hope of the world?
Could he save man
From those embittered
Will He show the better way
Share His love for us all… teach us to forgive?
©Copyright February 2006 by Gary Jacobson
Author’s Note: My brothers and sisters, War is something old men of all nationalities foist upon their young. It is the young who fight the battles, bear the injuries, and either die at the feet of the altar of war before the gods of war, or live forever changed, their values forever changed, forever lost, forever wondering why?
But what of the little children caught betwixt and between? For them there is no escape! They have no choice, but to quiver to-and-fro in the winds of cruel war, swaying like a reed in the maelstrom! Were they just inconveniently born in the wrong place at the wrong time, doomed to follow the winds of war wherever it may blow, however it may alter their innocent lives?
And what will become of them when they grow older, and because of lessons learned in youth, they become the ones sending another generation to war…