Not my Child by Lindsay Oliver

Not my child

Laying limp in the sand

Face down in the sea

 

Not my child

Huddled unbreathing

In a cargo container

 

Not my child

Stranded alone

Dead on a beach

 

Not my child

The curl of his fingers

The curve of his cheek

 

Not my child

Hair soft as thistledown

On the nape of his neck

The Devil Slakes his Thirst by Lindsay Oliver

The devil dons his mask

and casts our children from the land

with promises purloined

fromthe nightmares of the dead

 

The devil sheds his skin

walks the dark sequestered streets

as we worship and adore

his glory all unbound

 

The devil stakes his claim

to pitch his shadow on the sea

while we collect his rent

from the safety of the shore

 

The devil takes his due

with an unforgiving hand

more practised than restrained

and lays his burden down

..

Lindsay Oliver lives in Leith and writes poems, short stories, and longer fiction. Her website address is http://lindsayoliver.scot/

Wake Up My Son by Lindsay Oliver

(for Sahir Abu Namous)

A father, his pain, a dead child in his arms

A face, then a blank empty space at the back

Blood on that face then a hollow concave lack

A shroud, a coffin, a blood-soaked embrace

an ill-suited end for a four year old boy

His father’s own darling, his mother’s own joy

His father he tells him, I’ve brought you a toy

Open your eyes, smile for me, lift up your head

We’ll play as we did, how can you be dead?

 …

You’re too small for the box, too young for the shroud

I thought you’d recover, I’d watch you grow strong

Wake up for me now, can’t you see this is wrong?

I don’t know what say, where to look, how to act

Occupation, bombardment, rockets, airstrike

Retaliation, I don’t know what that’s like

Then I see little Sahir alone in the ground

The scene shifts into focus I know what to say

Stop killing the children in Gaza today

Author’s Notes
1. ‘Wake up, my son’ was written for Sahir Abu Namous, who died aged four, during an airstrike on Gaza in July 2014.
2.  A recording of the poem appears on the Leith Walk Rhymer’s youtube channel.
biographical note
Lindsay Oliver lives in Leith and writes poems, short stories, and longer fiction. Her website address is http://lindsayoliver.scot/