Tan Pratonix

Bronze Star - 2,607 Points (Triolet, Mauritius)

The Little Boy On Bodrum Beach - Poem by Tan Pratonix

(Lines written spontaneously after seeing the photo of the body of a little Syrian boy washed up on the beach of Bodrum, a Turkish resort town, as the family were trying to escape by boat to Greece. Tragedy of the 5 year old Syrian Civil War.3rd September 2015)

The little boy
(A Kurdish toddler
In red shirt and blue shorts)
Washed up on the beach
Of Bodrum, a Turkish resort,
Far away from home.
The sea weeps over his lifeless body,
Washing him with her foam.

He is wearing little shoes,
With velcro straps (one strap loose) :
He is lying there, face
Half-buried in the sand.
And the Aegean washes over his body
In gentle spills and surges,
Caressing with her profuse,
Grieving hand.

My eyes well up with tears;
The image hurts.
The tragedy of the Syrian war, between
Sunni Arabs, Shiites and repressed Kurds!
A quarter of a million dead,
Four millions fled;
Hideous devastation
Through an ancient nation.

The tide of refugees is swelling,
Its waves rushing in,
Tearing through Europe's coasts
And borders and fences.
(It's a Muslim invasion,
The Hungarians sense.)
Countries in panic shut their doors;
They cry out, 'We can take no more! '
…But Germany,
Embraces these poor, tormented souls.

O mothers of the world,
I mourn with you!
I weep for the tragic loss
Of this innocent victim of desperate straits.
My long-complacent, uncaring heart
Is torn apart.
My soul aches.

The little boy hides his face;
But will humanity hide its shame?
Callous nations close their eyes,
Wash their hands off,
Pass on the blame!
Oh, this is such a huge disgrace!
I see humanity condemned to the hilt.
The dead child points to collective guilt.

Topic(s) of this poem: tragedy

Form: Elegy

Poet's Notes about The Poem

The Syrian Crisis

Comments about The Little Boy On Bodrum Beach by Tan Pratonix

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (12/1/2016 2:24:00 AM)

    A heart wrenching sight has been depicted so nicely. I am really sad after reading this poem on unhumanity, the innocent boy was nipped at tender age. The last three lines reveal its picture.... Oh, this is such a huge disgrace!
    I see humanity condemned to the hilt.
    The dead child points to collective guilt. Fantastic... Thanks...10
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  • Rebecca Navarre (11/22/2016 9:36:00 PM)

    Oh Dear God! ! ! ! ! ! Dear Lord! ! ! ! ! ! How Heart Breaking! ! ! ! ! How Powerfully Said And So Deeply Felt! ! ! ! !
    Tears The Heart Apart! ! ! ! ! Thank You For So Powerfully Voicing This! ! ! ! ! (And) Sharing To This World! ! ! ! !
    Tearfully! ! ! ! ! , Definite! ! ! ! ! 10S! ! ! ! !
    (Report) Reply

  • Matt Mooney (11/8/2016 6:55:00 PM)

    The Little Boy on Bodrum Beach.
    I have been trying to come to terms in words with the Syrian tragedy for some time and you have penned it down for me and for everybody else. A great poem in every way in my humble opinion. Well done Pan. (Report) Reply

  • Seamus O' Brian (10/5/2016 10:31:00 AM)

    Powerful. Such photos and such writing compel us to re-frame simple data into a more human context. Whatever decisions lie ahead, we must never forget that there are actual human beings at the end of all our policies and procedures. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Gale (1/26/2016 6:13:00 PM)

    Nice poem! :) A sadness can wash upon Us, within a forlorn rushing riptide of bleakness! : ( (Report) Reply

  • Hazel Durham (9/21/2015 2:56:00 AM)

    Heartfelt write that shows the world as it is, reality is cruel and uncaring and people suffer and their innocent children suffer too. Every country should help these people who have suffered so much they need support and kindness as they flee the hell for a better day, a better week, a better world!
    Superb write and thank you for sharing!
    (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (9/19/2015 5:38:00 PM)

    apparently you took Douglas at his word and removed off, as i do not see it now. i think off would have been ok, even if not according to some (perhaps) outdated rules of the language. i might also have written wash hands of it, with it referring to the refugee problem and war problem.

    a photo of one dead boy does NOT make me think nor act differently about the ‘unfortunate’ disruption in people’s lives. it is not that I am callous [well maybe; maybe uncaring is what I’m not? ]. if I were to be upset (without me having much, if any, power to change things) over such photos or stories, my life would be dismal OR I would have to avoid “the news”.

    I like the poem, especially the now-and–then rhymes and these lines:

    “Countries in panic shut their doors;
    They cry out, 'We can take no more! '
    …But Germany,
    Embraces these poor, tormented souls.” ……
    …….. I’ve read that the European nations are working on a quota system for accepting refugees across their borders. I’ve also read some opinion concerning the unwillingness of some wealthy Arab countries to take I refugees, even Arab refugees; I can’t say that I really think they have any legal (or perhaps even moral) obligation to open their doors. hmm?


    “I see humanity condemned to the hilt.
    The dead child points to collective guilt.” . I like the lines though I don’t think condemning humanity or having collective guilt will do the trick. : (

    thanks for sharing. bri :)

    welcome back to PH.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2015 12:35:00 AM)

    So recently alive. Nice touch calling the sea a she. Better just 'wash your hands' without the 'off, ' as that means literally to wash them off your arms. (Report) Reply

  • Roop Rekha Bhaskar (9/17/2015 12:14:00 AM)

    This brought tears to my eyes too. There are so many out there. Sometimes my mind refuses to read complete write and so skimp thru the pages. But my heart cannot do that. It recollects and imagines the exodus over and over again. A baby born in camp, another dies on beach. An extending hand for food and a ship overflowing with humans! (Report) Reply

  • Beach Girl (9/16/2015 7:01:00 AM)

    Tan, your poem was almost too painful for me to read. It made me feel horrified and helpless to hear of that poor child's death and the lack of human compassion the world shows toward fellow human beings. Thank you for sharing your feelings. (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (9/15/2015 11:15:00 PM)

    What heart wrenching sight and what a poignant write! All of us have been shocked to see that helpless victim washed ashore after the over crowded boat capsized! This refugee exodus and their suffering should shake the sleeping human conscience! Man should end his pugnacity and embrace his brother in love! Will such a time dawn in human history! Let children like Aylan live in safety and not be nipped by cruel fate before those buds bloom! Top marks! (Report) Reply

    Tan Pratonix Tan Pratonix (9/15/2015 11:45:00 PM)

    Thank you, Valsa. I believe a better world is around the corner. But the world will have to go through a terrible shaking because of its sins!

  • (9/13/2015 8:23:00 PM)

    Tan, this poem is beyond amazing! The most heart rendingly magnificent and poignant poem I have ever read on this site to date! Welcome back to Poemhunter! ! (Report) Reply

    Tan Pratonix Tan Pratonix (9/15/2015 11:45:00 PM)

    Thank you, Kevin. I appreciate your remarks. This was written from the heart!

  • Daniel Brick (9/13/2015 12:04:00 PM)

    You right! That photograph is so wrenching, the colors of the boy's clothes are so bright but the corpse seems rigid. I read your poem before seeing that picture. In your poem the sea plays the role of compassion: you describe it as washing the body, caressing it, never buffeting it. One dead child becomes representative of this tragedy of violence, and beginning with stanza 3 you address the larger political issues. And resolving them will be the only way to prevent another child's death. The message of the sea is COMPASSION FIRST, POLITICS OF POWER LAST. I applaud your passionate appeal to humanity in the last stanzas. You have given all that you can in these words of moral fervor. (Report) Reply

    Tan Pratonix Tan Pratonix (9/13/2015 12:36:00 PM)

    Daniel, thank you so very much. I am grateful that PoemHunter still has some warm generous appreciative folk. It's been 9 years since I was here, and this poem is the first I've written after 9 years! So good to find someone who 'understands' the poem. Thank you for your so very discerning comments.

  • Paul Amrod (9/13/2015 12:02:00 PM)

    Hi Tan I pain as a Lebanese person for the brothers in Syria. The creation of the ISIS is perhaps the newset dimension of the Arabian Spring which never became a summer. The mismanagment and apathy is atrocious and no one is taking responsibity to begin a talk for a truce. All the brave northern boys are doing is pointing ´fingers and not beginning any solutions. This is just the inception of a catastrophe that will continue until a diplomat raises to the occasion and starts peace talks. God bless you for opening up the reality of the situation, Paul (Report) Reply

    Tan Pratonix Tan Pratonix (9/13/2015 12:38:00 PM)

    Thank you, Paul, I feel the pain. And the agony still continues in this terrible 'migrant crisis' over the Balkans and parts of Eastern Europe (even up to Calais!)

  • Paul Sebastian (9/12/2015 10:48:00 AM)

    A beautiful picture of inhumanity. You have penned a picture of man who has become not man but beast.
    Very provocative poem for man to reflect on evil man has become. Thanks for the lovely heart-wrenching poem, Tan.
    (Report) Reply

  • Margaret O Driscoll (9/12/2015 3:36:00 AM)

    So painful, so heartwrenching. (Report) Reply

  • Bill Galvin (9/11/2015 8:22:00 PM)

    A wonderfully done work expressing world-wide pain and grief...10. -BG (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (9/11/2015 6:51:00 AM)

    Your poem is beautiful and oh so painful. I'm glad you wrote it. It should be shared. I'm so sad for humanity, for this innocent little boy. (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (9/10/2015 12:27:00 PM)

    A perfectly penned elegy, Tan. You have a gift. I wrote a poem about this as well- Inhumanity (Tanka)
    I think this incident shook a lot of people awake and saddened the world
    (Report) Reply

  • Ernestine Northover (9/10/2015 3:52:00 AM)

    A tremendous write. Like Roseann everything she has expressed is what I would have also said. I cannot find anything that would better this poem. I would like to read it out at my poetry group meeting if that is alright with you. It has such impact that it will also go to my favourites as well. More than excellent, holding within it the futility of it all, the, heart rendering feelings for these people who are trying to escape terror and fear for themselves and their families.
    Life can be wonderful but life can also be wicked. It is hard to comprehend what goes on in the heads of these manic humans, if you can call them that who are causing such mayhem across the world. You can be very proud of your writing as I would be if I had written this. Well done for bringing this terrible calamity out in to the open. I will read some more of your creations very soon, Take care.
    Love Ernestine
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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Poem Edited: Sunday, September 20, 2015

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