Dear child at the border crossing


(BBC News, child refugee at the Syrian Jordanian border)

As western navel forces gather in the Mediterranean; as we await the attack on Syria; as Israel test their missiles, as Russia begins to mobilize its own navy in defence of Assad; and as the predictable escalation threatens to become a contagion of total war, we see a child at a border:

Dear child at the border crossing:

The frozen face behind the transom,
the red light beneath the panel,
the locked gate beyond the gravel—
it’s just the way things are. You see,

the crowing paladins of apocalypse,
amass arms, set fingers to triggers,
appropriate their Gods of destruction
and blindly fulfill their own prophecy.

While the avant-garde of human
development, with unshakable faith
in peace through violence, breed
empires of everlasting vengeance.

And all the deepening valleys,
of bones along the borders,
await in vain the wings that bring,
breathing flesh and blooming hearts.

You will remain here forever, for
the days of innocence, if any there
were, have long past, and war is so
common now, that war is no more.

What is there left to do child?
Perhaps you could teach us.
For we have failed over and over
the lessons of history.


  1. “War is so common now, that war is no more” – not sure I get this. There’s some irony here yes? We will have wars and rumours of wars before the end comes to be sure.

    But, if we could find the child to lead us…

  2. Right it does. Something like fish not being able to explain water to us. But that’s an imperfect metaphor. Fish need water in a way we don’t need war. As we wage war, we proclaim our motives of peace and justice.

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