The Chidren’s Voices – A Poem

An Israeli occupation soldier arresting a Palestinian child in the West Bank village of Beit Omar. (Photo: Anne Paq,

By Stephen Brackens Brinkley

The children’s voices, can’t you hear

some voices distant, some voices near

Some are calm, but most are not

in their beds or on a cot

Children sleeping having dreams

but there’s no laughter, only screams

in the late hours the shouts begin

abduction of children is a sin

they enter homes but have no right

humanity has left their sight

violent hands break child slumber

but they’re not children they’re just a number

their hands are tied their eyes forced shut

the knotted feeling in their gut

where they’ll be taken is not told

no loved one to comfort, no loved one to hold

the trumped up charge of throwing a stone

results in terrorized children, all alone

in the daylight it happens too

last week your cousin, next could be you

there’s no playtime, there’s only rules

kids longing to learn, but they raid their schools

snatching playmates, friends and kin

returned much later, God knows where they’ve been

taken to a scary place,

beaten, battered bright lights in face

questioned mercilessly all under duress,

the frightened children forced to confess

with trembling hands they sign the form

hoping to avert some harm

In a language they do not know,

if you sign we’ll let you go

then they’re placed inside a cage

full of shame and full of rage

when they go before the bench

guilty verdicts are a cinch

Can these children be made whole

after Israel tries to kill their soul

We ALL must act, oh can’t you see

to save the children, to make them free

The children’s voices, can’t you hear

some voices distant, some voices near

– Rev. Stephens Brackens Brinkley is a San Diego-based advocate and human rights activist for unarmed civilians living under armed conflict. He contributed this poem to

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