There’s a child’s doll on the stones
By the ashes of the fire
Broken, limbs dangling. Where is the child,
You ask, and look away, Wondering, perhaps
Then turn back, looking once again.
It is not a doll.
And the father on his hands and knees, scrabbling in the dirt
Isn’t an extra in a movie, paid to grovel and cry.
The tears are real, the blood is real
And the dead children really die.
And only the flies remain, buzzing
Their buzz, and another buzz,
And you hear a voice saying
This is the good war,
This is the price of freedom
And perhaps you hear voices saying
It’s very sad, but such things must be.
After all, these people have beards, wear turbans
The women cover their faces
And you can't understand what they're saying
Maybe they don't really mind dying
As much as real people do.
Perhaps the child’s father, a military-age-male
Was a potential terrorist, and hence a target
And it was unfortunate that the child was close by
But such things happen.
War is hell.
The child might have become a terrorist
If she had been allowed to breathe and speak
If sh had been allowed to live and grow.
These voices are persuasive
They belong to people who wear suits
Who speak superb English
And who are on TV.
They represent enlightened values
Freedom and Democracy.
So don't worry. Don't lose sleep.
It's really all right after all.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2012