Watching the terrible news of children gassed in Syria, I could not imagine the pain and grief of the father holding his four-old daughter, looking down at her, feeling her stiff and dead body, seeing lifeless eyes. Unable to write any more than this, but wanting to offer some sense of empathy with the father, I retrieved a former poem I wrote years ago, after reading about the shelling and death of children, in Kosovo. Sensing again their death I sense and share now this father’s grief and loss.
The newspaper photo shows a sled on red snow
in Kosovo, with the caption,
“Shelling kills six children playing in the snow”
When all this world
is white with ice and snow
cold floorboards chill my feet,
the air bites icy cold,
my shoulders hunch up for heat.
I see this life as pure and clean,
the land virgin white, the air Madonna blue,
this moment bright and fairy.
But outside my window
the street light turns from green
and now I see upon the snow
From man’s own making
red light upon the snow.
Red light tinged with pink.
Red light as gurgling in the lungs.
So where are all our darling children
This day of snow and light?
I fear they lay as bright, as bright
Upon the snow, as this red light.