Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 50

Insurgents lie dead with a live hand grenade besides them in Ramadi during an operation to clear insurgents on Wednesday, March 28, 2007, in Ramadi, Iraq, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers shot the men, one of them holding a grenade, as the men tried to attack a house. They died during a US-Iraqi house-to-house sweep through what American commanders said was one of this city's last insurgent strongholds. The operation ended with rooftop gunfights, airstrikes and dead guerrillas on the streets.
(AP Photo/Todd Pitman)

from [American Journal]
by Robert Hayden

here among them the americans this baffling

multi people extremes and variegations their

noise restlessness their almost frightening

energy how best describe these aliens in my

reports to The Counselors

disguise myself in order to study them unobserved

adapting their varied pigmentations white black

red brown yellow the imprecise and strangering

distinctions by which they live by which they

justify their cruelties to one another

charming savages enlightened primitives brash

new comers lately sprung up in our galaxy how

describe them do they indeed know what or who

they are do not seem to yet no other beings

in the universe make more extravagant claims

for their importance and identity

. . .

confess i am curiously drawn unmentionable to

the americans doubt i could exist among them for

long however psychic demands far too severe

much violence much that repels i am attracted

none the less their variousness their ingenuity

their elan vital and that some thing essence

quiddity i cannot penetrate or name

- - -

the complete poem

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 49

The family of U.S. Army Private First Class John Landry Jr., his sister Britney (L), his mother Pamela (C) and his father John Landry Sr., stand together during burial ceremonies in Wilmington, Massachusetts, March 27, 2007. Landry Jr. was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on March 17.

Susan Maxwell

look the snow is like us,
tide-metal bell flung open
to ocean. No farther
says the chamber with trees
filigreed fast to its edges.
Coal-fat in winter, a prayer that burns
when inverted. Oh please
says the fire in the trees.
The story streams
from gull to gull,
each beak a clear carrier,
what happens nowhere
to be found there.
Nowhere to be found.
Overcast gull. Eyes flying
into the noise,
the lead silhouette.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 48

Iraqi policemen gather bodies in the back of their pickup truck in the aftermath of a suicide truck bomb that exploded inside their compound in the predominantly Sunni al-Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad. Suicide attacks waged by a lorry driver posing as a goods merchant and a bomber in a sweet shop killed dozens of Iraqis on Saturday, underscoring the vicious nature of a changing insurgency.
(AFP/David Furst)


by Matthew Rohrer and Joshua Beckman

In another jungle the monkeys fret.

Vibrations are tremendous.

Terror begins.

Mist dissipates.

Monkeys alight in unison

while beneath them nothing sexy happens.

From within one mangrove a monkey flutters helplessly,

another watches.

Noise like refined alabaster drifts across our monkeys.

Human intellect dwarfs only that first tear.

Everything else excels.

Intellect is nothing to savor.

Monkeys know.

Monkeys see.

Monkeys do.

As monkeys follow nauseated foresters

across wet walkways they announce their intentions.

Mankind savors variety.

Monkeys savor mankind.

Poachers came and grabbed the monkeys.

In disturbing circumstances they thrive.

Our satellites saw lilacs.


No one wanders forever.

- - -

Most of the people Othman and Laith knew had left Iraq. House by house, Baghdad was being abandoned. Othman was considering his options: move his parents from their house (in an insurgent stronghold) to his sister’s house (in the midst of civil war); move his parents and brothers to Syria (where there was no work) and live with his friend in Jordan (going crazy with boredom while watching his savings dwindle); go to London and ask for asylum (and probably be sent back); stay in Baghdad for six more months until he could begin a scholarship that he’d won, to study journalism in America (or get killed waiting). Beneath his calm good humor, Othman was paralyzed—he didn’t want to leave Baghdad and his family, but staying had become impossible. Every day, he changed his mind.

From the hotel window, Othman could see the palace domes of the Green Zone directly across the Tigris River. “It’s sad,” he told me. “With all the hopes that we had, and all the dreams, I was totally against the word ‘invasion.’ Wherever I go, I was defending the Americans and strongly saying, ‘America was here to make a change.’ Now I have my doubts.”

Laith was more blunt: “Sometimes, I feel like we’re standing in line for a ticket, waiting to die.”

from Betrayed - The Iraqis who trusted America the most.

by George Packer

The New Yorker

March 26, 2007

- - -

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 47

A woman cries over a blood stain on the ground after her husband and two sons were killed by gunmen in Mahmoudiya, 30km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, March 24, 2007. Gunmen killed three members of a Shi'ite family in Mahmoudiya on Saturday, police said.

REUTERS/Ibrahim Sultan (IRAQ)


by Michael Ryan

The dead thing mashed into the street

the crows are squabbling over isn't

her, nor are their raucous squawks

the quiet cawing from her throat

those final hours she couldn't speak.

But the racket irks him.

It seems a cruel intrusion into grief

so mute it will never be expressed

no matter how loud or long the wailing

he might do. Nor could there be a word

that won't debase it, no matter

how kind or who it comes from.

She knew how much he loved her.

That must be his consolation

when he must talk to buy necessities.

Every place will be a place without her.

What people will see when they see him

pushing a shopping cart or fetching mail

is just a neatly dressed polite old man.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 46

At al-Dora : US soldier SSG David Brown from Gator Company 2-12 Infantry Battalion grimaces as medics provide him first aid, after he was shot in the leg by unknown gunmen, while attempting to secure the area around the site of a weapons cache found while on patrol in the predominantly Sunni al-Dora neighborhood of southern Baghdad.
(AFP/David Furst)

Altars of Light

by Pierre Joris

If the light is the soul

then soul is what's

all around me.

It is you,

it is around you too,

it is you.

The darkness is inside me,

the opaqueness of organs folded

upon organs--

to make light in the house of

the body--

thus to bring the

outside in,

the impossible job.

And the only place to become

the skin

the border, the inbetween, where

dark meets light, where I meets


In the house of world the

many darknesses are surrounded

by light.

To see the one, we need

the other / it cuts both ways

light on light is blind

dark on dark is blind

light through dark is not

dark through light is movement

dark through light becomes,

is becoming,

to move through

light is becoming,

is all

we can know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 45

A woman cries as she waits to claim the body of a relative, killed in a mortar attack on Monday, outside Yarmouk hospital morgue in Baghdad, March 13, 2007. The attack killed two persons and wounded 15 others, police said.


Bangladesh II

by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

translated by Agha Shahid Ali

This is how my sorrow became visible:

its dust, piling up for years in my heart,

finally reached my eyes,

the bitterness now so clear that

I had to listen when my friends

told me to wash my eyes with blood.

Everything at once was tangled in blood—

each face, each idol, red everywhere.

Blood swept over the sun, washing away its gold.

The moon erupted with blood, its silver extinguished.
The sky promised a morning of blood,

and the night wept only blood.

The trees hardened into crimson pillars.

All flowers filled their eyes with blood.

And every glance was an arrow,

each pierced image blood. This blood

—a river crying out for martyrs—

flows on in longing. And in sorrow, in rage, in love.

Let it flow. Should it be dammed up,

there will only be hatred cloaked in colors of death.

Don't let this happen, my friends,

bring all my tears back instead,

a flood to purify my dust-filled eyes,

to wash this blood forever from my eyes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 44

A Muslim Shiite Iraqi pilgrim injured in a car bomb attack in the central town of Hilla on 6 March, rests at Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital. Shiite pilgrims ran a gauntlet of sectarian attacks as the toll from a previous suicide bombing rose to 117, amid fears that a backlash could undermine the US-led Baghdad security plan.

(AFP/Wisam Sami)

Birds Appearing In A Dream

by Michael Collier

One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,

another a tail of color-coded wires.

One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,

another a flicker with a wounded head.

All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,

bright, circulating in burning air,

and all returned when the air cleared.

One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,

deep in the ground, miles from water.

Everything is real and everything isn’t.

Some had names and some didn’t.

Named and nameless shapes of birds,

at night my hand can touch your feathers

and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,

you who have made bright things from shadows,

you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 43

Residents identify a relative from among the bodies of those who were killed during Tuesday's bomb attack in Hilla, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, March 7, 2007. Insurgents killed 149 Shi'ite pilgrims heading for the holy Iraqi city of Kerbala on Tuesday, including 115 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in one of the deadliest attacks of the 4-year-war.


How Can It Be I Am No Longer I

by Lucie Brock-Broido

Winter was the ravaging in the scarified

Ghost garden, a freak of letters crossing down a rare

Path bleak with poplars. Only the yew were a crewel

Of kith at the fieldstone wall, annulled

As a dulcimer cinched in a green velvet sack.

To be damaged is to endanger--taut as the stark

Throats of castrati in their choir, lymphless & fawning

& pale. The miraculous conjoining

Where the beamless air harms our self & lung,

Our three-chambered heart & sternum,

Where two made a monstrous

Braid of other, ravishing.

To damage is an animal hunch

& urge, thou fallen--the marvelous much

Is the piece of Pleidaes the underworld calls

The nightsky from their mud & rime. Perennials

Ghost the ground & underground the coffled

Veins, an aneurism of the ice & spectacle.

I would not speak again. How flinching

The world will seem--in the lynch

Of light as I sail home in a winter steeled

For the deaths of the few loved left living I will

Always love. I was a flint

To bliss & barbarous, a bristling

Of tracks like a starfish carved on his inner arm,

A tindering of tissue, a reliquary, twinned.

A singe of salt-hay shrouds the orchard-skin,

That I would be--lukewarm, mammalian, even then,

In winter when moss sheathes every thing alive

& everything not or once alive.

That I would be--dryadic, gothic, fanatic against

The vanishing; I will not speak to you again.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 42

A member of a U.S. Marine Honor Guard hands the United States flag to family members and Kortni VanSlyke (3rd L) at burial ceremonies for her husband Marine PFC Bufford Kenny VanSlyke at a cemetery in Bay City, Michigan, March 12, 2007. VanSlyke was killed at a checkpoint in Fallujah, Iraq.


Birds Again

by Jim Harrison

A secret came a week ago though I already

knew it just beyond the bruised lips of consciousness.

The very alive souls of thirty-five hundred dead birds

are harbored in my body. It’s not uncomfortable.

I’m only temporary habitat for these not-quite-

weightless creatures. I offered a wordless invitation

and now they’re roosting within me, recalling

how I had watched them at night

in fall and spring passing across earth moons,

little clouds of black confetti, chattering and singing

on their way north or south. Now in my dreams

I see from the air the rumpled green and beige,

the watery face of earth as if they’re carrying

me rather than me carrying them. Next winter

I’ll release them near the estuary west of Alvarado

and south of Veracruz. I can see them perching

on undiscovered Olmec heads. We’ll say goodbye

and I’ll return my dreams to earth.

- - -

note: I recently used another photo of this family in this diary. Twenty-one is too young an age to be a widow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Daily Witness Day 41

A relative of a bombing victim lights a candle at El Pozo train station in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 11, 2007. Madrid is commemorating the third anniversary of Spain's worst terrorist attack which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,700. The bombing attacks were claimed by Muslim militants who said they had acted on behalf of al-Qaida to avenge the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq.

(AP Photos/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Light breaks where no sun shines

by Dylan Thomas

Light breaks where no sun shines;

Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart

Push in their tides;

And, broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads,

The things of light

File through the flesh where no flesh decks the bones.

A candle in the thighs

Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;

Where no seed stirs,

The fruit of man unwrinkles in the stars,

Bright as a fig;

Where no wax is, the candle shows its hairs.

Dawn breaks behind the eyes;

From poles of skull and toe the windy blood

Slides like a sea;

Nor fenced, nor staked, the gushers of the sky

Spout to the rod

Divining in a smile the oil of tears.

Night in the sockets rounds,

Like some pitch moon, the limit of the globes;

Day lights the bone;

Where no cold is, the skinning gales unpin

The winter's robes;

The film of spring is hanging from the lids.

Light breaks on secret lots,

On tips of thought where thoughts smell in the rain;

When logics dies,

The secret of the soil grows through the eye,

And blood jumps in the sun;

Above the waste allotments the dawn halts.

- - -

for Jeanne, in surgery today

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 40

A man covers his head with his bloodstained hands as he grieves outside a hospital morgue while waiting to claim the body of his brother killed in Monday's mortar attack in Baghdad March 13, 2007. The attack killed two persons and wounded 15 others, police said.


A Hand

by Jane Hirshfield

A hand is not four fingers and a thumb.

Nor is it palm and knuckles,

not ligaments or the fat's yellow pillow,

not tendons, star of the wristbone, meander of veins.

A hand is not the thick thatch of its lines

with their infinite dramas,

nor what it has written,

not on the page,

not on the ecstatic body.

Nor is the hand its meadows of holding, of shaping—

not sponge of rising yeast-bread,

not rotor pin's smoothness,

not ink.

The maple's green hands do not cup

the proliferant rain.

What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

A hand turned upward holds only a single, transparent question.

Unanswerable, humming like bees, it rises, swarms, departs.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 39

Iraqi refugees at work on the outskirts of Damascus in February 2007. Senior US official Ellen Sauerbrey will discuss the plight of two million Iraqi refugees when she holds talks with the Syrian government in Damascus.
(AFP/File/Louai Beshara)

I Ain't Got No Home
by Woody Guthrie

I ain't got no home, I'm just a-roamin' 'round,
Just a wandrin' worker, I go from town to town.
And the police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

My brothers and my sisters are stranded on this road,
A hot and dusty road that a million feet have trod;
Rich man took my home and drove me from my door
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

Was a-farmin' on the shares, and always I was poor;
My crops I lay into the banker's store.
My wife took down and died upon the cabin floor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

I mined in your mines and I gathered in your corn
I been working, mister, since the day I was born
Now I worry all the time like I never did before
'Cause I ain't got no home in this world anymore

Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to see
This world is such a great and a funny place to be;
Oh, the gamblin' man is rich an' the workin' man is poor,
And I ain't got no home in this world anymore.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 38

A man grieves beside the coffin of his brother who was killed during Tuesday's bomb attack in Hilla, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, March 7, 2007. Insurgents killed 149 Shi'ite pilgrims heading for the holy Iraqi city of Kerbala on Tuesday, including 115 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in one of the deadliest attacks of the 4-year-war. Arabic inscription on the coffin reads: 'Offer prayers for the soul of the deceased'.

The Poems I Have Not Written

by John Brehm

I’m so wildly unprolific, the poems

I have not written would reach

from here to the California coast

if you laid them end to end.

And if you stacked them up,

the poems I have not written

would sway like a silent

Tower of Babel, saying nothing

and everything in a thousand

different tongues. So moving, so

filled with and emptied of suffering,

so steeped in the music of a voice

speechless before the truth,

the poems I have not written

would break the hearts of every

woman who’s ever left me,

make them eye their husbands

with a sharp contempt and hate

themselves for turning their backs

on the very source of beauty.

The poems I have not written

would compel all other poets

to ask of God: "Why do you

let me live? I am worthless.

please strike me dead at once,

destroy my works and cleanse

the earth of all my ghastly

imperfections." Trees would

bow their heads before the poems

I have not written. "Take me,"

they would say, "and turn me

into your pages so that I

might live forever as the ground

from which your words arise."

The wind itself, about which

I might have written so eloquently,

praising its slick and intersecting

rivers of air, its stately calms

and furious interrogations,

its flutelike lingerings and passionate

reproofs, would divert its course

to sweep down and then pass over

the poems I have not written,

and the life I have not lived, the life

I’ve failed even to imagine,

which they so perfectly describe.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 37

John W. Morse comforts his daughter Kortni VanSlyke, 21, as the remains of her husband, U.S. Marine Pfc. Bufford 'Kenny' VanSlyke, are unloaded from a cargo jet at MBS International Airport in Bay City, Mich., Tuesday, March 6, 2007. VanSlyke, 22, died Feb. 28 after being shot at a checkpoint in Anbar province, Iraq.
(AP Photo/The Bay City Times, Kevin Hagen)

Let Evening Come
by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving

up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing

as a woman takes up her needles

and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.

Let the wind die down. Let the shed

go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop

in the oats, to air in the lung

let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't

be afraid. God does not leave us

comfortless, so let evening come.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 36

Bomb attack victims lie in a hospital in a hospital in Hilla, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, March 7, 2007. Insurgents killed 149 Shi'ite pilgrims heading for the holy Iraqi city of Kerbala on Tuesday, including 115 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in one of the deadliest attacks of the 4-year-war.


After the Diagnosis

by Christian Wiman

No remembering now

When the apple sapling was blown

Almost to the ground.

No telling how,

With all the other trees around,

It alone was struck.

It must have been luck,

He thought for years, so close

To the house it grew.

It must have been night.

Change is a thing one sleeps through

When young, and he was young.

If there was a weakness in the earth,

A give he went down on his knees

To find and feel the limits of,

There is no longer.

If there was one random blow from above

The way he's come to know

From years in this place,

The roots were stronger.

Whatever the case,

He has watched this tree survive

Wind ripping at his roof for nights

On end, heats and blights

That left little else alive.

No remembering now...

A day's changes mean all to him

And all days come down

To one clear pane

Through which he sees

Among all other trees

This leaning, clenched, unyielding one

That seems cast

In the form of a blast

That would have killed it,

As if something at the heart of things,

And with the heart of things,

Had willed it.

from The New Yorker magazine, March 12, 2007 (p.74)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 35

A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire amid rubble just after a suicide car bomb exploded in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, March 5, 2007. A suicide car bomber struck near the well-known Mutanabi book market in central Baghdad Monday, killing at least 26 people and injuring more than 50, in a first major blast in the city in several days, police said.

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Love Affair with Firearms

by Medbh McGuckian

From behind the moon boys' graves

bleed endlessly; from photograph

to browning photograph they blacken

headlines, stranded outside of time

at the story's frigid edge.

Though they are long buried

in French soil, we are still speaking

of trenches, of who rose, who fell,

who merely hung on. The morning drills

secretly, like an element that absorbs.

We are right back where we were

before the world turned over,

the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone

are all that Sunday means. Their North

was not 'The North that never was'.

Artemis, protector of virgins, shovels up

fresh pain with the newly-wed

long-stemmed roses, pressing two worlds

like a wedding kiss upon another Margaret:

lip-Irish and an old family ring.

It's like asking for grey

when that colour is not recognised,

or changes colour from friend to friend.

I track the muse through subwoods, curse

the roads, but cannot write the kiss.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 34

Widows Richelle Hecker, right, and Ursula Pirtle hug at a help center for families of fallen soldiers located at Fort Hood, Texas, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007. Both women's husbands were killed in Iraq.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Letter From Kathmandu
by John Brandi

Friends, let us wake with disbelief
bare our souls, tell our stories, lose our eyes,
become vagrants of the Sea.

Let us seek the heat
of the kernel that feeds in the dark
and step aside of men whose twisted lips
pretend to lead, but are not real
in their pursuit of war.

We've already seen years
of massacre, hydrogen light the night,
children with ruined eyes, tortured by what
no one should ever see.

Let us leave our security,
open our memory, bring flowers
from the storm, write letters that become
sanctuaries, so that we ourselves
may become sanctuaries.

Friends, a dream
runs up to me smiling. I call on you
to see in the dark, to finish
the song inside you.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 33

Mourners console one another outside St. Andrew's Church in Colchester, Conn., Thursday, March 1, 2007 after a funeral service for U.S. Army Sgt. Richard L. Ford. Ford, 40, died Feb. 20, 2007, of injuries sustained in combat in Iraq. Ford was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
(AP Photo/Bob Child)

by Han Shan
translated by David Hinton

The cold in these mountains is ferocious,
has been every year since the beginning.

Crowded peaks locked in perennial snows,
recluse-dark forests breathing out mists,

grasses never sprout before the solstice
and leaves start falling in early August.

This confusion includes a lost guest now,
searching, searching—no sky to be seen.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 32

Charlotte Freeman, widow of Army Capt. Brian Freeman responds to questions during a news interview Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007 in the Queens borough of New York. Captain Freeman was able to arrange for Ali's surgery, an 11-year-old Iraqi boy, through the Gift of Life International Charity. Ali is recuperating after an operation at Schneider's Children's Hospital - to repair a hole in his heart.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

by Emily Brontë

Cold in the earth--and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?

Cold in the earth--and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring;
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion—
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?

- - -

Read more about Capt. Brian Freeman here.

An account of Ali’s hospitalization and treatment is here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Iraq War Grief Daily Witness Day 31

Iraqi children look at wrecked cars at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad. Bombers slaughtered 18 Iraqi children playing football on Tuesday as a relentless bombing spree snuffed out dozens more lives and a US spy chief acknowledged that the crisis amounts to "civil war".
(AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Chansons Innocentes: I
by e. e. cummings

in Just-

spring when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it's


when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles

far and wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and






balloonMan whistles