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Poetry on the Picketline Under the Acacia Tree, by Joy Johnson

Decisions made on the other side of the world have consequences... on the other side of the world.

On a Yemeni farm it was the spring
planting season. Fourteen year old
Raja Hamid Yahya al-Oud that day
with her mother, as on any other,
rested under the acacia tree.

On a Turkish beach Alan Kurdi from Kobane
red tee shirt, blue shorts, lay face downwards.
An image as distant as can be imagined
from the photo left behind. His older brother
and a teddy bear as big as the two of them.

On the Arabian peninsula in Saada city
the school bus was packed. Twelve year old
Khaled chattered and laughed. A younger boy
slept through the babble. Children doing
what children do the world over.

Until this.

From the moment Khaled witnessed
the carnage of his school friends play ended.
His childhood dreams turned ugly.

Until this.

The seas still swallow refugees.
Alan Kurdi washed up onto that
Turkish beach never to be forgotten.

Until this.

Her body twisted. The cluster bomb scattered
its fatal munitions under the umbrella
of the acacia’s sweet-smelling leaves.

Poetry on the Picket Line is a squad of like-minded poets putting themselves about to read their work on picket lines, in the spirit of solidarity. Invitations to rallies etc. welcome, contact facebook.com/pg/PicketLinePoets. The new Poetry on the Picketline anthology is available at culturematters.org.uk

 

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