A TRIO OF POEMS FOR YEMEN
The war in Yemen has created the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Since it started six years ago:
233000 people have died
19.7 million people need basic healthcare.
Almost 18 million people are in need of water and sanitation facilities.
Over 3 million people have been displaced by conflict.
So far 85,000 children under the age of 5 have died due to malnutrition.
That is the equivalent of losing every child under the age of five in the city of Birmingham.
A child is dying a preventable death every ten minutes.
Dove Tales recently did an event for Yemen, but some of our poets had written more than one poem. This is their work:
Weep Like Our Juniperus
Image Raymond Delaat, pixabay.com
we envy our juniperus procera
they stand together strong
watered and fed
as a gift from our God
secure in their being
yet weep their leaves
shake their needles
dispatch their cones over
our once fertile soil
in the land we love
where ancestors lived free
since time immemorial
before deprivation arrived
while cholera spat at
our vulnerable children who
live urban destruction
with torture and bombings
by wanton insurgents
decimating individual lives
for they break up our families
threaten our existence
yet still we survive
like our juniperus procera
Image by Aline (Алевтина) Mueller, Pixabay
We created it in the desert, from human debris
that survived the chaos of our last war:
scattered body parts assembled, stitched together
and brought to life with the accumulated trauma
of a million dumbstruck orphans.
It stumbled at first, a stranger to its own limbs.
We propped it up. Our allies bound its wounds.
We indulged its simple appetite for atrocity,
buying its plunder, plying it with more bullets.
Priests well-versed in hate taught it to speak.
We directed its primitive sectarian urges
against dictators who did not yet toe our line.
We tell the world we are blending new poisons
to make a final cure for an old disease,
as if that makes any sense at all.
When the medicine we concoct boils over
and briefly spills and sizzles on the hob,
we sprinkle more bombs into our alchemy,
and distill more profits from the blood.
War aims narrow to a cycle of retaliation.
Friends and enemies are rendered interchangeable
by every outrage. Ghostly children
emerge from ruins, pale with dust,
to find out whose side they are on now,
and another generation of human wreckage
is strewn across the sand, ready
for the next time we need to make a monster.
Lemur Eyes, Yemen 2021
We have seen this face before, though don’t know her.
She’s eighteen months old but looks like a woman
of eighty. Lemur eyes underscored
with deep lines, eating up her face.
Biafra, Bangladesh, Sudan...
The places are different but the face remains the same.
Mouth locked, unable to move, even
if food were offered. Ribs score her baby flesh.
Barely breathing, her world laid waste by weapons
made by us, for a war we have no part of.
Is this how we want to make our way in the world?
Stealing our comfort from a child we’ve never met?
Crisps sit untouched. That dip is off,
we say, but gulp our wine, hoping to stop
this little ghost haunting our dreams tonight,
hoping to forget this face we’ve seen before.
The situation in Yemen is desperate and our country is complicit, through its arms sales to Saudi, in fuelling the war. There are many charities working there. Please donate to one of them:
Disaster Emergency Committee:
Save the Children
Is a prolific creator of lyrical free verse in English and the Doric. He has achieved success in poetry competitions across the British Isles and North America. His poems have been published by literary magazines, anthologies and webzines in the UK, Ireland, Italy, India, Africa, USA and Canada.
Alun Robert was born in Scotland of Irish lineage. He is a member of the Poetry Society, Dove Tales Association of Scottish Artists for Peace, Mid-Kent Stanza, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Poets and the Federation of Writers Scotland for whom he was a Featured Writer in 2019.
Peter Clive lives on the southside of Glasgow, Scotland with his wife and three children. He is a scientist working in the renewable energy sector.
As well as poetry, he enjoys composing music for piano and spending time in the Isle of Lewis.
Peter has been published by Poetry Republic, Writer's Cafe Magazine, Cadaverous Magazine, Reflections, Riggwelter, The Blue Nib and Causeway, and performs occasionally at events in the Glasgow area.
Jean Rafferty is a writer of fiction, journalism, and now poetry. She was twice nominated for feature writer of the year in the UK Press Awards, and her first two works of fiction were nominated for literary awards.