Nakba: A Remembrance

By William A. Cook

What silent communion this scene holds,
Of a life lived and one yet to unfold;
What forlorn love those encircling arms portend,
That would protect against the evils that descend
From unseen missiles yet to come with unlived years,
Where hopes and dreams dissolve into unforeseen fears
That falls like a funeral pall upon this child,
Who sits so quiet, so pensive, so mild
Beneath those crescent arms as they reach to shield
This innocent lost in this barren field.

What catastrophe is caught in this aged face,
What last years lost in silent disgrace,
What father is now absent from this scene,
What mother abandoned to a fate unseen?

How relive a life lost, what might have been?
How rekindle love in a world of sin?
How undo the infectious toxin of hate?
How understand the true terror of fate?

I share this tent of sorrow and of shame,
The darkness in the soul, the guilt and blame,
A seared image of suffering and pain–
The curse of Cain rises– once again.

– William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book, The Plight of the Palestinians, was published this past summer by Macmillan. He contributed this article to Visit: and contact him at:

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