So many mother's babies have been lost in recent weeks, the result of horrifying warring. I was compelled to write a poem at the time of the deaths of three innocent boys, hitching a ride home from school. This piece was part of a challenge from Robert Lee Brewer, Writer's Digest poetry editor. Since it was entered in a poetry contest, I wasn't able to post it to my site but here it is, in its entirety, in memory of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Shaar, 16 and all the children and their families, lost in senseless battle, West of Jordan.
Using the form of a Golden Shovel poem, the writer must take another poem and using each word in that line or poem as an end word of their own piece. Once completed, the original poem is revealed by reading the final words of each line of the new creation. I used the Walt Whitman poem LOOK DOWN, FAIR MOON, which was an homage to young men killed during the American Civil War. According to one analysis [certain battles would drag on for many days at a time. As a result of this, oftentimes corpses had to be left where they fell on the battle field due to a lack of ability to go back and pick them up. The author of this analysis believes that this poem is based upon Whitman's plea for the moon to look down on such battlefields and clean and purify the bodies of the wounded.]
PLEASE, LOOK DOWN, FAIR MOON
Let’s say you don’t like the way these boys dress or look
Or perhaps you, helplessly, down
To your own calcified beliefs, have trouble being fair
In a world, under the same moon.
Maybe you see our children differently and
You’re not interested in how we bathe
These bloody issues, be they Israeli or Palestinian in this
Complicated and hard to be neutral scene.
Imagine the tears of three mothers and how they did pour
With aunts, grandmothers, friends and softly
Spoken young girls, all falling down
On knees with incalculable sorrow in the night’s
Mourning, a glow of love and grief like a dimmed nimbus
Like nothing you have ever, ever known, the floods
Of untold loss, without relying on
Memories of sweet babyish faces
That now, after sharing ten silent bullets, are left ghastly,
Found in an open area close to Hebron, swollen,
Left in a field in the West Bank; cheeks, hands, lips purple
These mother’s babies missing. Two. Weeks. Don’t tell me it’s not on
Your mind what had to be acknowledged in the
Cold bright room where they identify the dead;
Does it matter to what god they prayed? on
What day of the week? or the food on their
Breakfast plate? … now that they lay on stiffened backs,
What if it was your boy who died there with
His school friends, last seen at the hitchhiking point in Gush Etzion with their
Book bags over shoulders, dangling arms
About each other, cares toss’d
To the wind, with hearts opened wide,
Not knowing what fate was about to pour
Upon them from heavens and hells that have been turned up side down
While you were watching the five o clock news in your
Cozy home surrounded by family and the wealth of unstinted
Peace and security. Your borders are tight and the nimbus
Of tranquility makes you believe your circle is sacred
And your children are safe under that same moon.
Thank you for reading.