Sunday, January 21, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 4

A man covers a child killed at Bab al-Sheik market in central Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Two bombs were detonated five minutes apart Tuesday in a used motorcycle marketplace in central Baghdad, killing at least 15 people and wounding 74 others, police said. The first bomb was attached to a motorcycle in the market. As the curious gathered to look at the aftermath, a suicide car bomber drove into the crowd and blew up his vehicle.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

from Apricots Died Young

by Chiao Meng

translated by David Hinton

Apricots died young in blossoms still nipples. Frost cut them free, and their scattering made me

mourn the child I had long ago,

so I wrote this poem.


Don't fondle these pearls. O hands of ice,

fondle pearls and they're quick to fly.

And don't cut spring short, sudden frost.

Cut spring short and that blaze of beauty's lost.

Still nipples, tiny blossoms fall in tatters

tinged pure as a child's robes long ago.

I gather them, never filling my hands,

and at dusk, grief empty, return home.


It must be this same thread of tears

piercing the hearts of spring trees:

before blossoms opened anywhere,

flake after flake fell to the blade.

Spring's life never lasts, it's true,

but my lament over frost is already

impossibly deep. Instead of blossoms

bathing streams, tears bathe robes.


At our son's birth, the moon was dark,

and when he died, it began to shine.

Moon and child, they stole each other

away. O scarcely lived child of mine,

what's it like, blossom after blossom,

if not endless blue heavens in lament,

sweetness falling into earthen dust,

nothing left to bloom in other times?


Calamity infecting a child is natural:

blossoms mostly fail. Still, I gather

ruins of the heart, a spent old man

cradling love's debris in endless night.

What can be said once sound dies away?

And once hope's dead, song's useless.

Old and sick--no child, no grandchild,

I stand like bundled firewood, alone.


RubDMC said...

for peace

morrigan said...

I witness. Too many children have died.

"I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned."
from Dirge Without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

anniethena said...

Peace and witness

olivia said...


musing graze said...


Electronic Iraq: An Iraqi Parliamentarian Considers 'The Surge'.

The Song Of The Pacifist
by Robert Service

What do they matter, our headlong hates, when we take the toll of our Dead?
Think ye our glory and gain will pay for the torrent of blood we have shed?
By the cheers of our Victory will the heart of the mother be comforted?

If by the Victory all we mean is a broken and brooding foe;
Is the pomp and power of a glitt’ring hour, and a truce for an age or so:
By the clay-cold hand on the broken blade we have smitten a bootless blow!

If by the Triumph we only prove that the sword we sheathe is bright;
That justice and truth and love endure; that freedom’s throned on the height;
That the feebler folks shall be unafraid; that Might shall never be Right;

If this be all: by the blood-drenched plains, by the havoc of fire and fear,
By the rending roar of the War of Wars, by the Dead so doubly dear. . . .
Then our Victory is a vast defeat, and it mocks us as we cheer.

Victory! there can be but one, hallowed in every land:
When by the graves of our common dead we who were foemen stand;
And in the hush of our common grief hand is tendered to hand.

Triumph! Yes, when out of the dust in the splendour of their release
The spirits of those who fell go forth and they hallow our hearts to peace,
And, brothers in pain, with world-wide voice, we clamour that War shall cease.

Glory! Ay, when from blackest loss shall be born most radiant gain;
When over the gory fields shall rise a star that never shall wane:
Then, and then only, our Dead shall know that they have not fall’n in vain.

When our children’s children shall talk of War as a madness that may not be;
When we thank our God for our grief to-day, and blazon from sea to sea
In the name of the Dead the banner of Peace . . . that will be Victory.

ask said...

Peace and justice for all in Iraq.

alohaleezy said...

Peace to all and know, that I AM A WITNESS!

roses said...

For peace and consolation

edsbrooklyn said...

for peace, and for comfort to all who suffer

moira said...

In peace and love.