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