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Dark deep beneath twisted iron rods

and black-burnt concrete rubble

the little green shoots

persistently propagate —

one surging the strongest

although he would never see

dazzling light of sun

or firebursts of explosives

falling on the children

of war-torn Yemen —

who in their clamour

for a school, for education

are dodging sniper bullets,

starvation and missiles

as our Western children

dodge pitfalls in their

Super Mario games.

This blind boy Ahmed

at only nine — is teacher —

and in the shattered shell

of what was a school —

lights on knowledge

inside his head

to chant past lessons to playmates.

We need walls he says

to keep the rain

from falling on us

doors and windows to keep

out the wind and sun

and as he talks

the rattle and boom

of gunfire and bombs

pierce the acrid air.

We want a blackboard

and things that are not

broken by war.

Ahmed grins from

ear to ear and as the

sounds of war continue

marks each blast with

a laughing eek. But Khulood —

one of his pupils, sighs

Image by Vladyslav Huiv

we arrive in danger and we

leave in danger —we want to learn,

to be with our friends.

Playing in the shrapnel

these indomitable innocents

now read - UK branding on bombs.

Mairi Jack, who died at the end of 2022, was a much loved member of Dove Tales.

Having been a journalist, teacher, gallery and gift shop owner, she came into her own as a creative writer and contributed many fine poems to Dove Tales.

There are many ways to write about war and Mairi found a very original approach, writing about a young blind boy who taught the children around him in the midst of the war - which is still going on. The poem reflects Mairi's own humanity, her resilience, and her recognition of a fellow human being who shared her generosity of spirit.


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