Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Child Soldier

I’m ten years old, sir
I’m all of ten years old
And all I know how to do, sir
Is what I’ve been told.

I have never read a book, sir
And on a blackboard all I’ve ever seen
Is the pattern of a minefield, sir
And the inside of an M16.

I do what I’m told, sir
I do what I’m told
And if you tell me to be bold sir
Why then I will be bold

If you tell me it’s right sir
It's fine to slash and kill, why then I would
Because if you tell me something sir
It’s an order received and understood.

I wonder if it’s right sir
To pity the children soft and weak
While I play with life and death, sir
They just play hide and seek.

Childhood, why that’s a dream, sir
That’s a dream over and done
And maybe I’ll have a rest, sir
When you tell me your war is won. 

Copyright B Purkayastha 2007/12


  1. So very sad that children that young are used to kill.

  2. What I really wanted to write after reading this one was a swear word so I counted to 10 first. Damn that so hit a nerve.

    In 2002 I met a man who was the same age as me but when I was about 10 or 11 and reading books and going to school and riding my bike around the place and all the sort of stuff that children are meant to be doing, he was given a gun and taught how to be a guerilla soldier and how to kill people. Which he did. He was in Cambodia back then. Its all so very wrong.

    I met him because he managed to survive somehow and he wound up in a refugee camp, and he actually got married there and then he and his wife and by then his son (they were quite a few years in the camp) got picked to come to New Zealand as refugees. But he hasn't (or at least hadn't, in the time that I met him) done very well here because he never went to school as a kid so he has never learnt to read very well in any language. And actually, at school you learn how to learn. That's a skill in itself. And he had to learn English after he got here.


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