Three Poems

By Murray Alfredson

1. Gaza

‘Suffer the children’
I
Those who have known
holocaust children
cannot forget them.
Hunched as though
a kick were coming,
haunted of eye,
head ever turning,
their gait an almost shuffle
and ever like a cat
prepared to flee,
a silent scream
not to touch
with hand or word.

II

Israel’s leaders,
they of all folk
prison-like
have fenced in Gaza
bid generals
hurl their bombs,
their shells and rockets
from air and sea
and rolling tanks,
hurl clinging fire scarring children
who survive,
as those of over
sixty years ago.

2. Shields

You say they hide
themselves behind
civilians as
human shields.

When you shell
a hospital
with phosphorous
that burns the structure
and the skin
around the wounded,
and when you shell
a school where people
flee for refuge
where are the shields,
and where the shielded?

And when you fire
your guided rockets
at the homes
of target persons,
sometimes with luck
you find them home
but surely slay
his wife and children.
Does a man hide
when he’s at home?

No whitewash words
paint thick enough
to hide your evil.
Murder is murder
whatever the wrapping.

3. Gazan Cull

Through telescopic sights
a sniper spots
the girl kneeling to tend
a prostrate man
brings the cross-hairs
to her temple
allows for wind-drift
mindful squeezes
the trigger only.
Sideways she slumps
across her patient —
One Arab womb the fewer.

Murray Alfredson is a former librarian, lecturer in librarianship and Buddhist Associate in the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy at Flinders University. He has won a High Beam poetry award 2004, the Poetry Unhinged Multicultural Poetry Prize 2006, the Friendly Street Poets Political poetry prize 2009. He serves the editorial panel of different international journals and magazines. He is at Ashvamegh editorial panel. He describes himself as a poet, essayist and skeptic. He is the author of Gleaming Clouds (Interactive Publications). He lives in Australia.

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