Login   Sign Up 


War and Peace

by hailfabio 

Posted: 20 July 2006
Word Count: 66

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Quiet mid-afternoon
in a modest semi-detached,
a child cries.

His young mother gently encourages
a mashed-up banana,
he normally likes that.

Too tired to play
with his toy soldiers
and action men.

She frets,
probably over nothing,
but so fragile are these little souls.

On the news, in Lebanon a child cries,
looking for her stricken mother.
The young boy stops crying, as he watches helplessly.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

NinaLara at 17:44 on 21 July 2006  Report this post
I really like the conversational style of this poem. The first three verses are great - I like the idea of turning the poem round on the toy soldiers and action men. I think writing about an event that is happening now is a very important thing to attempt - weel done.

The last two verses I have a couple of niggles with:

The worried mother frets,
most probably over nothing,
but so fragile are these little souls.

could work better as

The mother worries,
probably over nothing.

and I'm not sure about the very last line - is it necessary? Or do I just feel completely cold about any mention of religion in this conflict?

I also feel this an extra couple of lines are needed to make the journey to Lebanon: the news on the TV? The ex-pats leaving, the bobs, the hospitals ......


Bobs? Bombs.

James Graham at 10:29 on 22 July 2006  Report this post
'Toy soldiers and action men' make a very simple and telling irony. On first reading, there's a hint from the title that it's not only about a fretful child in a suburban semi, but to see the full irony we have to read to the end, and discover it's about Lebanon where real 'action men' are killing and being killed. I like the way this irony reveals itself gradually.

There are other ironies too, e.g. 'so fragile are these little souls' - yes, it's true, a child anywhere is vulnerable, but how much more so in a village in Lebanon now.

The last line has a point to it in the sense that we're talking about that part of the world which some still call the 'Holy Land'. But although there are many Christians in Lebanon, we're talking about all the peoples of the Middle East, Jews and Muslims too, those not represented by the religion of Jesus. Like Nina, I'm afraid I'm left cold whenever religion is invoked - but it's meaningful for many good people (forget the fundamentalist fanatics). I could just about accept the idea in your last line, if it could mean that the old Mid-Eastern visionaries were 'turning in their graves' - Mohammed, whose 'jihad' means 'effort, struggle' 'the effort to live in the way that God intends for human beings', or Isaiah with his 'Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more'.

In the thread on my own new poem I've been going on about how far it's possible for us to write about Lebanon or other tragic places without having any first-hand experience. Your poem is a real effort (jihad?) to do just that. I agree with Nina that you could make the connection with Lebanon through something like the TV news. Some reference to the TV news would bring distant Lebanon into the setting where the fretful child and his mother live.


joanie at 14:32 on 22 July 2006  Report this post
Hi Stephen.

I wonder too, I really do! (last line) The idea behind this is just spot-on and I, like James, love how it unfolds as we read.

I'm not sure about His young mother and The worried mother, although I usually like repetition. I think it might be better with something like
His young mother encourages;
He normally likes
a mashed-up banana.

She frets,
probably over nothing,
but these little souls are fragile.

This is very thought-provoking. I like it.


hailfabio at 12:09 on 23 July 2006  Report this post

Glad this hits some of the right notes. Religion is always a sensitive thing to bring into these situations and whilst I am not a relious person myself, as you can probably tell from previous poems, this last line is about the fact that the conflict is happing in such a holy place and the irony that Jesus was supposedly brutally crucified to stop violence and suffering is strong, to me at least.

James, yes I've been looking at the comments on your poem and it is true that poets are often guilty of writing about events and situations that we have no idea about.

That's why I've tried to take a simple mother-son setting, which I'm quite familier with and contrast it with the scenes I've seen in the news. I didn't link the two because I wanted the contrast to be as stark as possible, but a link might help it flow.

Joanie, your grammatical suggestions are much of an improvement.

As will all wars, there are no winners, its difficult to understand what drives people to it. Looks like the west are happy to let Isreal run riot, but I think the easiest way we can comprehend it is to compare our situations with the situations in Lebanon.

That's what I've tried to do here.


hailfabio at 12:22 on 23 July 2006  Report this post
Changed to last verse. Does it work?

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .