By Francis Oeser
Ruinous walls define a simple street –
a place for donkeys, the calls of walkers selling wares,
a place banded by bars of sunshine and shadow.
But all is changed.
See a huddle of boys
in short sleeved shirts and jeans
(as if going to a picnic)*,
one holding a blinding white handkerchief
to his nose, gripping another’s arm
who shields his unbelieving eyes
from pools of blood as extensive as
the dead crumpled across the heedless way!
Nothing but bullet-pocked rubble beyond.
Nothing in the sky.
Children are angels, poets.
These have no words for horror making crime tangible.
The children have only themselves
in a world as derelict, as demented, as overpowering
as their huddled warmth, the hand-held arms, the tears.
The scornful sun doesn’t raze the bloodied dead
or wash the street.
The childrens’ sobs in Sabra and Shatila
condemn a heedless world
and proclaim their ravaged futures.
Will they ever remember humane kindness, love and laughter?
We strip our lives by feigning careless silence.
* A photograph heading Robert Fisk’s account in The Independent 15th September 2012.
– Francis Oeser is a novelist and a poet. He contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com.