Editor's Choice Archive 2

For the Children of Iraq

By Patricia Keegan

Oh land of Abraham, and Ur, where Moses rose
Between the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Oh land of Noah’s great flood,
Where once you sank beneath the waters,
And now you call again upon the Sky God,
The Moon God, but it is the God of the Wind
Who carries your voice across the world
To this new land, Where deep inside the hearts of millions
A hallowed voice is heard.
It nags and nags and nags; It says, 'Thou shalt not kill!'

Once the capital of the world for two centuries,
Baghdad looks faded now,
Burdens of weariness etched across her face.
But children come and go and skip along in innocence
To school, to dance, to play,
While mother’s watch and wring their hands in fear.
And mornings come and go and still they rise
To put the coffee on, put on their shoes,
Then warily turn the front doorknob,
An opening to the naked sky.
Yet, still they wait, the moments drag...

Six thousand miles away
Debating voices rise...
Unseen in their chaotic world is the glorious perfection
Of the Iraqi children,
Their newborn skin, their shining eyes,
A tiny hand reaching for a father
To lift them up,
To view the wonders of the world.
For now, they are the fortunate, with precious moments left.
For others, all was lost through deprivation.
Victims of sanctions, 5000 die per month, their Fate
Carelessly tossed aside like random weeds.

And will we send our sons and daughters
To press cold buttons on laser guided bombs
O’er hospitals, schools, factories, bridges and mosques,
And think they will return to us the same?
Their minds, if not their eyes, will forever
Journey backward through the path of destruction,
Seeing bodies strewn in the lingering hell of half-death.
Oh Sky God, Moon God, Wind God, God of Abraham, God of Moses,
And all who have the power to turn the world away from war,
Stop us, Stop us, before we hear the cry:
Forgive them God, they know not what they do.