Break: a human story of conflict in a ‘holy land’

This poem is inspired by real stories shared by friends and their friends living through escalating conflict in a ‘Holy Land’. I have written many poems recently and over time looking at different human angles of this ongoing conflict.

Break

“Break his arms so he cannot leave”
Pleads a wife to the father of her son,
She, a pacifist fearing who will grieve,
She begs that they lock him in a room,
She cries like her man’s mother once did
And his father’s mother cried before,
While the army comes to claim each kid
Saying children are what they fought for,
And he does; he implores to save his
Child from the jaws of more vicious war
And a mother gives her son a salty kiss
As TV politicians commentate on the score
As if it is all a game, yet the parents remain,
“You’re going to be grandparents” he says
As he parts and they watch the cycle again,
Like the parents in Gaza, these parents pray
That they will not feel incessant loss and pain,
They hold each other until the break of day,
She decries the verbs of violence used by men,
That night, the text, “Love you, we are going in”
Then the dead phone and TV visions of the fight
And battles in the home, and how did this begin
And not end? A dad with chard flesh in his sight,
Remembering the bloodshed, organs and bombs,
Fear for his son, Jewish and Palestinian friends,
Old, blood-stained song, all ‘sides’ want to belong,
Yet war destroys what it promises it defends
As foreign ‘peace’ protestors define what is wrong,
Good and evil, dark and light, via every narrow lens
Absolutist lines in black and white, no lines within
Like the borders between humans as foe or friends,
Like the borders between souls and skin on skin,
And the media spins, spins, distorts reports, forgets
The movements of peace, protestors in the streets,
Showing the riots and hate but not acts of respect,
Not those places where friends from all ‘sides’ meet,
And restless souls cannot sleep in escalating violence
As earth vibrates with missiles, bombs, marching feet
And parents pray for ringing phones and silence.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch