War Poem: Death of a Toddler


By Barbara Millar

O, Syrian child, armies of refugees, huddled together

on rotting boats, on a fickle sea, washed ashore

like detritus of a shipwrecked land:

death by hunger

death by mortar

death by fire

death by water.

You were a little piece of heaven

born amid the ruins.

Above your head through shattered stones

a crescent moon appeared

like the pale, velvet flesh of your eyelids

in a land where the Tigris and Euphrates

cradled an empire.

Your life was priceless like the others.

Like the Prince of Angels,

You had a golden smile.

Yet not even a god can bring back the dead.

Your eyes radiant as embers;

two jewels polished by a mother’s glance.

So loved were you by all the world who stood idly by

while your nation burned.


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