Thurman P. Woodfork

CHILDISH THINGS

Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by South African, Kevin Carter
Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by South African, Kevin Carter (deceased): Vulture watching a starving Sudanese child struggling toward a food station
Children, ah, children
– the hope of us all;
I’ve watched them die,
or sicken and crawl
on African plains
under carrion birds’ eyes
while uncaring politicians
postured and lied.

I’ve seen them fleeing
from war birds’ dives,
dodging and scrambling
in fear of their lives.
I’ve seen them take
a few lives of their own,
wielding a weapon
as if they were grown…

Or hurl a grenade
with murderous aim
as though engaged
in some deadly game
where the object was
to slaughter and maim,
and not amusement,
applause, or fame.

They’ll turn themselves
into walking bombs
and become ‘martyrs’
in order to harm
people they shouldn’t
be old enough to hate…
On such shoulders
rests our ultimate fate.

How did we permit
such a huge culture gap?
What can we do before
it all comes unwrapped
and leads to the long –
promised fiery end –
Something as simple
as truly being friends?

Submitted for the March 2004 IWVPA Club theme Project, “Children