Diana Rosser


Childhood Slaughtered


I

Sweet sun, shone light, in clear blue sky.
Innocent feet went walking by.
Laughter rang out with voices high,
said their goodbye; said their goodbye.

To grandma’s village, family, friends
along dirt track, up hills, round bends
with thoughts of days that would befriend,
until the end; until the end.

Gathered in the village square,
sound wrapped by cricket filled night air,
beneath bright stars that twinkle there,
the wind blew fair; the wind blew fair.

Dawn broke red across deep dreaming
fast running feet, warning, screaming
“soldiers have left your village bleeding
go, get leaving; go, get leaving”

In far distance fires burning
fear for mother, no returning
behind brother, full of yearning
pounding, churning; pounding, churning

Running skinny long limbed child
after brother, miles and miles
through thick forest, eyes all wild
relief smiled; relief smiled.

Sleeping, spent, in low down branches
woken up by sunlight’s glances
hunger gnawing their advances
weighing chances; weighing chances.

Warily retracing footsteps
back to village where they last slept
hoping loved ones were, safe kept
how their hearts wept; how their hearts wept.

Smouldering, twisted, charred remains
homes, dreams, wishes, innocent games,
wood, friends, family, all the same
blackened, maimed; blackened, maimed.

Hiding eyes- swivel, village square
neighbours kneeling, bound, brought bare
folded beneath an Ak’s stare
remaining there; remaining there

Triumph, blood soaked, laughing, jeering,
weapons dance the village clearing
boys and men their red eyes cheering
disappearing; disappearing.

Pull from bushes one last slaughter
Grandma’s neighbour’s weeping daughter
Strap her to a tree and force her
one last slaughter; one last slaughter.

Tough hands grab the newest soldier
rifle slung from floor to shoulder,
give him a blade, make him older
“obey order; obey order”

In front of hidden, hiding eyes
captive stands, before captive prize
slits her throat from side to side
watches her die; watches her die.

High five; he has lost his new crown
comrades hand him, snort of ‘brown-brown’
lads laughing leave, to ‘paint the town’
no coming down; no coming down

II

Childhood slaughtered by their seeing,
brothers, silent, frozen, weeping
loose connection to their feeling
plan their leaving; plan their leaving

Grab from butchered burnt remains
remnants of life left to sustain
a journey weighted down by pain
all in vain; all in vain

Days and months of hunger driven
survival tortured, safety riven
no childhood slip ever forgiven
bravely striven; bravely striven.

Until new dawning of the day
that dearest brother slipped away
died, just like that at break of day
nothing to say; nothing to say

Broken skinny long limbed child
Roaring, raging, grief stricken, wild
finds a tribe, self soldier styled
so reviled; so reviled

Raiding then the newest soldier
with rifle hung from floor to shoulder
rages through violent disorder
red eyes smoulder; red eyes smoulder

III

Captive stands before captive prize
childhood slaughtered. Blazing eyes
slice gaping gut from side to side
watching life slide; watching life slide

High five; he has lost his new crown
comrades hand him, snort of ‘brown-brown’
lads laughing leave, to ‘paint the town’
no coming down; no coming down.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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