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No Wolf Dares

by John G.Hall 

Posted: 02 December 2004
Word Count: 227
Summary: One million people in China have aids.Many contracted the illness by selling their own blood.This poem describes a family infected by such a process,written as I watched them on TV last night.The children of the dead mother wore brilliant colourful knitted bonnets and rainbow threaded coats.The father & the children were also infected.I don't know what happened to them after the mothers funeral.

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No Wolf Dares

these Chinese children
wear bright woollen crowns
that mother knitted them
when she was well,

but she sold her blood
to feed her royal lambs
& now it sits discounted
in the stillness of arteries
in a breast shaped mound,

her tiny worshipers
kneel in their tears
burning counterfeit
spirit money until
it lies like black gilt
on the pure snow,

they sing into the soil
without understanding
the ancient language
still understanding loss
their quivering lips put
meaning in every word,

mother remains
the milk in their teeth
the cherry pinch
in their damp cheeks,
she is the chalk inside
their bones left fighting
the virus of poverty,

baby brother is pushing
his frozen face into his father
suckling heat from his coat
in the spring he will paste
lucky couplets on the walls
of his straw brick house
and light fire-crackers
to frighten off their demons,

yet in the hell of his blood
atomic explosions drown out
the small pyrotechnics of hope,
still she remains a pyrrhic love
a fading colour in his bitten lip
a silence that sleeps with him,

in the secret place of prayer
where she first knitted her children
their bright bonnets their woollen crowns
her lambs sit anointed by her needle prick
father stroking her precious sheep’s clothing
and while he lives no wolf dares.

John G.Hall©2004

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Comments by other Members

joanie at 15:12 on 02 December 2004  Report this post
Beautiful, poignant, thought-provoking. I love the images and particularly the last stanza.


Tuppence at 00:26 on 03 December 2004  Report this post
some of us live to write
some of us write to live
which one of those is right?
the thoughts we have to give
the thoughts we have to share
are they aware?
do we care enough to listen?
i do

Account Closed at 11:53 on 03 December 2004  Report this post
A very powerful piece and I loved the focus on the small and the domestic in order to say something larger and more universal. I think this might be why I felt the "atomic" image in the penultimate stanza somehow didn't quite fit with the rest of it. Might it be best to keep the focus "small" and intensive???



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