Pass on a poem

Children of War in Palestine by Indian poet Manash Bhattacharjee


The little girl

Runs after a butterfly

Among the graves


Their ghosts play cricket

In the ramshackle courtyard

After the boys leave


Her nose bleeding

The girl in her father’s lap

Shouts at the world


He draws giant insects

Flying down from the sky

Aimed at his eyes


Absorbed in prayer

Before the house went up in flames

He pleaded mercy for jasmines


She ran faster than her shadow

Shells chasing her heels

Trading a slipper with death



The soldier lifts the boy up

Stares at his guts

And hears a hollow rumble of wings


Through broken walls

Boys play hide-and-seek at noon

With rocket fire


As a little girl

Walaa thought barbed wires were meant

To keep out the soldiers


Between a bird and a girl:

“Why are they cutting down the trees?”

“To drive you away, so we can’t fly.”


Nights explode on his ears

He dreams he is a burning star

Sleep is another country


She stares at the sea’s blue

Her blue heart bluer than the sea

The air bluer than her heart


In a battered street

Little Yasin lies dead with flag in hand

The Rabbi’s cheek is a moist wall


From: Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems, The London Magazine, 2013.


Notting Hill, London: next reading Wednesday 15 October, 7.30pm  at the home of Frances Stadlen. If you would like to read a published poem of your choice or listen to others email [email protected]


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