Sunday, January 11, 2009

Michael Rosen's poem for the children of Gaza

I found a link that shared a poem for the children of Gaza, written by a children's writer from England, Michael Rosen, for a London demonstration against the Gaza invasion. What's interesting to me about it is that, somehow, it shows how a children's writer also can be a capable poet for demonstrations; after all, its syntax is simple, its message is clear, and the focus on the child's point of view brings home the fundamental violence of these attacks--that they are traumatizing a future generation, virtually assuring future attacks.

Poem by Michael Rosen, read out at the London demo today:


In Gaza, children,
you learn that the sky kills
and that houses hurt.
You learn that your blanket is smoke
and breakfast is dirt.

You learn that cars do somersaults
clothes turn red,
friends become statues,
bakers don’t sell bread.

You learn that the night is a gun,
that toys burn
breath can stop,
it could be your turn.

You learn:
if they send you fire
they couldn’t guess:
not just the soldier dies -
it’s you and the rest.

Nowhere to run,
nowhere to go,
nowhere to hide
in the home you know.

You learn
that death isn’t life,
that air isn’t bread,
the land is for all.
You have the right to be
Not Dead.
You have the right to be
Not Dead.
You have the right to be
Not Dead.

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