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Poetry Against Terror

 

POETRY AGAINST TERROR

A tribute to the victims of terrorism

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Published by

Fabrizio Frosini

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Editorial Board:

Fabrizio Frosini, Daniel Brick,

Pamela Sinicrope, Richard Thézé

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Poems

by

Sayeed Abubakar, Bangladesh

Alexandro Acevedo Johns, Chile

Billan Abdirhman Adam, Somalia

Umaima Ahmed, Pakistan

Saadat Tahir Ali, Pakistan (KSA)

Paul Amrod, USA (Germany)

Leah Ayliffe, Canada

Khaoula Basty, Tunisia

Lawrence Beck, USA

Daniel J. Brick, USA

Sophy Chen, China

Terence George Craddock, New Zealand

Sahra Hussein Dahir, Somalia

Driss Ezzireg, Morocco

Geoffrey Fafard, Australia

Weiyao Feng, China

Grant Fraser, UK

Fabrizio Frosini, Italy

Negar Gorji, Iran

Bright Kwamina Grantson, Ghana

Dilantha Gunawardana, Sri Lanka

Emdadul Hamid, Bangladesh (USA)

Birgitta Abimbola Heikka, Nigeria (USA)

Nosheen Irfan, Pakistan

Galina Italyanskaya, Russia

Afrooz Jafarinoor, Iran

Farzad Jahanbani, Iran

Vincent Chizoba John, Nigeria

Kinyua Karanja, Kenya

Sofia Kioroglou, Greece

Varghese Kuncheria, India (Oman)

Kelly Kurt, USA

Lionel Lerch aka Cocteau Mot Lotov, France

Birgit Bunzel Linder, Germany (HK)

Tapera Makadho, Zimbabwe

Kenneth Maswabi, Botswana

Denzel Mbatha, South Africa

Mallika Menon, India

Leloudia Migdali, Greece

Asoke Kumar Mitra, India

Zoran Mitrović, Croatia

Istvan Molnar, Sweden

Souren Mondal, India

Anitah Muwanguzi, Uganda

Bharati Nayak, India

Valsa George Nedumthallil, India

Srijana KC Neupane, Nepal

Eunice Barbara Novio, Philippines (Thailand)

Fatima Obaid, Pakistan

Marcondes Pereira, Brazil

Sajee Rayaroth, Australia

Marianne Larsen Reninger, USA

Terry Robinson (HE George), UK

Rizwan Saleem, Pakistan (UAE)

Leila Samarrai, Serbia

Kirti Sharma, India

Anzelyne Shideshe, Kenya (Germany)

Osiel Silverino da Silva, Brazil

Pamela Sinicrope, USA

Petra Soliman, Egypt (GCC)

Douglas Stewart, USA

Udaya R. Tennakoon, Sri Lanka (Switzerland)

Richard Thézé, UK (Germany)

Savita Tyagi, USA

Mai Venn, Ireland

Niken Kusuma Wardani, Indonesia

Snir Yacoby, Israel

Asma Zenjali, Morocco

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Commentaries by

Daniel J. Brick, Pamela Sinicrope,

Leila Samarrai, Valsa George Nedumthallil

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Cover by

Galina Italyanskaya

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A Fabrizio Frosini’s Project

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Poetry Against Terror

A tribute to the victims of terrorism

Published by Fabrizio Frosini at Shakespir

Copyright 2016 Fabrizio Frosini

Anthology of Poetry

Editorial project by Fabrizio Frosini

All rights reserved

ISBN

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the Authors, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for respecting the work of the Authors.

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Table of Contents

Opening Note by F. Frosini

Letter to: Secretary-General of the United Nations

Foreword by D.J. Brick

The Poems

Addendum

About the Authors

Publisher

Where to find us

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Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.’

[The Holy Quran 5:32]

 

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‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid’

[Leviticus 26:6]

 

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asato mā sadgamaya

tamasomā jyotir gamaya

mrityormāamritam gamaya

Oṁ śhānti śhānti śhāntiḥ

‘From ignorance, lead me to truth;

From darkness, lead me to light;

From death, lead me to immortality

Om peace, peace, peace’

[Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, ‘Asatoma Sadgamaya’]

 

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Na hi verena verani

sammantidha kudacanam

averena ca sammanti

esa dhammo sanantano.

‘Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world.

It is appeased only by loving kindness. This is an eternal law.’

[Dhammapada (Tipitaka – Pāli Canon)]

 

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欲安邦者,安邻;欲安邻者,安家;欲安家者,安心。

‘If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities; if there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors; if there is to be peace among neighbors, there must be peace in the home; if there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.’

[Laozi, ‘Daodejing’]

 

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OPENING NOTE

by Fabrizio Frosini

 

After I posted my poem, ‘Blood Rain’, on PoemHunter.com, my dear friend Pamela Sinicrope wrote to me saying that we had to think about a future collection of poems on the bloody Paris events of November 13th. From that suggestion the project was born. And I wanted it to become a large collective work: the voice of poets from many different countries, worldwide, who stand up and speak aloud — but without hatred — against the bloody madness of terror.

Astonishingly, 64 Poets * from 43 different countries (counting both each poet's home country and the ones where some of the poets currently live) have joined this project, and I wish to say “thank you” to each of them.

To make this project a tribute to the countless innocent victims, worldwide, we — poets of the world — wish to make our voices resonate in the minds and hearts of all women and men who refuse to be silenced by hate and violence. For this reason, I addressed a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (of which you can read an excerpt here below), and the other poets sent a similar letter to the Head of State of their respective countries. It is a symbolic gesture, but it highlights our commitment as “Poets against Terror”.

We want to make our collection of poetry freely available, especially to schools, because we believe that education, fairness and justice are the crucial key to help fight and overcome ‘terror ideology’ — not discrimination, as some voices call for. On such a basis we seek a moral support from both national and international organizations, in order to give visibility to our project, because, to quote my friend and co-editor Daniel Brick, ‘‘this project is about compassion for the victims of terrorism, it’s a celebration of a simple equation: ‘violence = more violence ; peace = peace’. We’ve made it clear, we’re not debating causes, but mourning a particular ‘effect’ which is the intentional murder of innocents’‘.

This project would not have come about without the valuable help and support of my poet colleagues and friends Daniel Brick, Pamela Sinicrope and Richard Thézé. To them, my co-editors: “Grazie di Cuore” (my whole-hearted thanks). Thanks also to Leila Samarrai and Valsa George Nedumthallil, who have helped with the commentaries, and –last but not least– to Galina Italyanskaya, who has created the book cover. However, we need to recognize the role of another invaluable source of help: the Poetry website ‘PoemHunter.com’. I would not have had the capacity, in such a short time, to invite so many poets worldwide to take part in this project without the help of “our site”. All of us are indeed active members at PoemHunter.com.

One final thought: I would like, at this point, to remember all the victims of terrorism and their families —those who have suffered and those who have died — everywhere, in the world. Let me say to them, and to ourselves: We shall not forget.

 

(Fabrizio Frosini, December 2015)

 

 

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  • Actually, the number of poets in this 2nd Edition is 68 (read: ‘Added Note’).

[***][***] The 43 Countries:

Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA, Zimbabwe.

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Added Note

The number of poets in this 2nd Edition (Shakespir, April 2016) is 68, since 4 more poets have joined the project in March 2016 and their poems have been added to the compilation. They are: Billan Abdirhman Adam (Somalia), Umaima Ahmed (Pakistan), Emdadul Hamid (born in Bangladesh, living in the USA), Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (born in Nigeria, living in the USA). You can read their poems in the section ‘Addendum’.

 

(Fabrizio Frosini, April 2016)

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His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General of the United Nations

Office of the Secretary-General

1st ave. and 46th street

New York, NY 10017 USA

 

Dear Mr Secretary General,

 

As a world citizen who loves peace and is adamantly against any kind of violence, I wish to inform your office of a project that came about after the brutal murders of so many innocent people in Paris, on November 13th, 2015. The project has been given the title

 

POETRY AGAINST TERROR

 

as a tribute to the countless victims of terror, worldwide.

The book, which is an anthology of poetry, is a compilation of poems written by poets from 43 different countries from all over the world. Through the poems, we, the poets, wish to express our unanimous desire for universal peace and to add our voice to those other unequivocal voices at the United Nations who say ‘NO’ to the scourge of terrorism that has horrifically affected so many human beings in so many locations around the globe.

The project, which was, primarily my own response to recent events in Paris, has grown to become the collective response of a large number of world poets, all of whom believe in liberty, equality and fraternity and who are totally against violence —against terror.

I am writing to you on behalf of all the poets involved in the project because we would like our message to reach the greatest number of people across the world as is possible. Particularly regarding the young, it would be wonderful having the book distributed freely to schools so to help people learn a message of peace and reject discrimination and hatred.

It is our fervent hope that your office kindly pass this information on to all the delegates of the United Nations and request their help in passing on the information further to colleagues working in national and international organizations that promote peace, especially those operating in the fields of culture and education.

 

I am grateful for your assistance,

 

Yours sincerely,

Fabrizio Frosini

(on behalf of the ‘Poets against Terror’)

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From many countries

The poets come together

To celebrate peace.

(Daniel J. Brick)

FOREWORD

by Daniel J. Brick

The Unified Field of Poetry

On November 13, 2015, I spent several hours composing a Poem of Memory, called ‘A Dome of Dutch Elms’. In my hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota, Dutch Elm trees had been planted along boulevards, and they formed a dome of leaves and branches arching over boulevards and streets. Sunlight filtering through that dome was a lovely sight. The loveliness was doomed when a disease invaded the city in the 1970s and destroyed virtually all of the trees.

I had planned to write that narrative but the poem decided on a different course, focusing on my adolescent experience. I followed the poem’s direction instead of mine, and did not deal with the disease. Another issue took over the poem, namely, rites of passage. My developing appreciation of natural beauty proved to be the theme the very process of writing had chosen. This unplanned passage summed up the new direction of the poem:

That sight was not only beautiful

in itself, but I believe the source

of my sense of beauty..

This passage of observation segues into a passage of meditation:

Beauty does not wait upon our wills or nature.

[..] We who live out lives, burnished

and bright, under the light of the sun

must take what is offered, when it is offered.

Such a pattern of observation followed by meditation is characteristic of a kind of lyric poetry. It occurs in a moment of calm regard, when other issues can be set aside, as the mind assesses its sensory experiences and places them into a larger philosophical context, but what happened next on that night of composing this poem shattered that calm.

A window opened automatically on my computer screen with the terse news report: 118 killed in terrorist attack in Paris. I felt the life squeezed out of me, I went limp in body and soul. My first thought was of the grief family and friends would be feeling over the loss of their loved ones. Then I thought of the beautiful city of Paris, the City of Lights, darkened by violence and fear. It was only after these thoughts that a helpless compassion for the victims seared my consciousness. These three sensations swamped my mind for the next several hours. At some point the irony of my privileged situation of external peace and internal calm that made my lyric poem possible assailed me. This event, this time demanded a different kind of poem from sincere and caring poets. But I was feeling helpless, unable to focus my emotions, much less my thoughts. This sense of futility bothered me, because a poet rendered silent by external events is not fulfilling his or her poetic mission, which is to give voice to common human concerns.

I turned to the internet and found that poets at Poem Hunter, some of whom were familiar to me, were already responding to this terrible event with that other kind of poem. It was heartening in the isolation of my apartment, in the silence of the night, to read their words expressing grief, condemning violence, promoting the arts of peace. Reading their poems pulled me out of my paralysis of emotion, and before dawn, I too had written a poem in response.

Over the next few days, as news reports gave us more horrendous details and pundits commented on and assessed the facts, more poets offered their poems. Fabrizio Frosini and I have co-edited six eBooks of poems by poets who post their poems at Poem Hunter. Along with another co-editor, Pamela Sinicrope, we decided a new eBook of poems against terrorism was required. When we invited poets to join us, there were almost immediately tens and tens of respondents from many different countries. The poets had rallied to fulfill their poetic mission: to lend their voices in support of humane values.

I have alluded, in this Introduction, to a different kind of poem from the familiar lyric poem in which a poet speaks about issues of a personal nature. This other kind of poem does not derive from the poet’s individual consciousness, but from events in the world. John Keats confronted the need for this other kind of poem at the end of his life. In the revision of the opening canto of his unfinished epic, The Fall Of Hyperion, he describes himself meeting a new Muse named Moneta, who sternly chides him for failing to write this other kind of poetry. Moneta says to the humbled poet:

None can usurp this height [of poetic achievement]

But those to whom the miseries of the world

Are misery, and will not let them rest.

Keats wrote those lines in 1819, but did not live to write the poetry they embody; yet we poets of the early 21st century certainly can. And we should not rest until we have fulfilled that mission.

This kind of poem has been called ‘The Political Poem’, but the root word politics is a vexed word with too many connotations we may not intend. It has been called ‘The Poem of Conscience’, but that persists in locating the poem in a poet’s individual consciousness. A more inclusive term was coined by the American poet, Carolyn Forche. She reversed the terms of a phrase by the Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, ‘The Witness of Poetry’, and offered us ‘The Poetry of Witness’. Her term directs our attention to the ‘what’ rather than the ‘who’ of the poem: the poet is looking outward, into the world, and finds his subject there, as ‘the miseries of the world’ summon him to become aware, to respond, to participate.

Carolyn Forche herself has written striking Poems of Witness. In ‘The Notebook Of Uprising’, she recalled what one of her aged relatives told her about the plight of refugees in the 1930s:

Anna said we were all to be sent: Poles, Romanians, Gypsies.

So she drew her finger across her throat.

Anna Ahkmatova’s great poem, ‘Requiem 1935-1940’, remembers the victims of Stalinist oppression. In her prose preface, she tells us about her motivation in a chilling incident of despair and hope:

A woman, with lips blue from the cold, started out of the torpor common to us all..

“Can you describe this?”

And I said: “I can”

Then something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face.

Miguel Hernandez, imprisoned by Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War and condemned to death, wrote desperate poems in prison expressing his longing to be reunited with his wife and son:

I sink my mouth in your life.

I hear the booming of space,

and infinity seems

to have poured itself over me.

I shall return to kiss you,

I must return..

He did not return, the fascists murdered his body but not his heritage as a Poet of Witness. At the very end of his poem, he promises his loved ones:

Three words,

three fires have you inherited:

life, death, love. There they abide,

inscribed on your lips.

The Palestinian poet, Rashid Husayn, speaks eloquently of the common life in an atmosphere of violence:

I will transform my life into all likelihoods of war,

So that the seed of love within me may grow,

and I will phone God a million times.

I will go on singing, more and more,

I will go on growing.

Despite years of imprisonment as a political prisoner, Abdellatif Laabi affirmed his purely human happiness:

So many years..

So many shooting stars inside my head

the fountain of tenderness murmurs

insistently

the strange happiness of the prisoner.

The lyric voice of the poet is not diminished but aroused by sufferings endured and witnessed. There is no sacrifice of lyricism in responding to ‘the miseries of the world’. That is why I titled this Introduction The Unified Field of Poetry.

 

(Daniel J. Brick)

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Diliges proximum tuum sicut te ipsum

 

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’

[Matthew 22,39]

 

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己所不欲,勿施於人。

‘What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.’

[Confucius]

 

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THE POEMS

 

Sayeed Abubakar: A Broom’s Prayer to God against Terrorism

Alexandro Acevedo Johns: The Cost of Terror and the Two Chilean Women

Billan Abdirhman Adam: Terrorism [see ‘Addendum’]

Umaima Ahmed: A Suicide [see ‘Addendum’]

Saadat Tahir Ali: Smeared in Blood

Paul Amrod: Crusader in Black

Leah Ayliffe: Lions

Khaoula Basty: Belief

Lawrence Beck: Slipping Away from Decadence

Daniel J. Brick: A Dance

Sophy Chen: Faced With Terrorism, Poetry is Nothing’s Nothing

Terence George Craddock, Terrorism Holds a Bloody Knife At Innocent Throats

Sahra Hussein Dahir: Save the Humanity

Driss Ezzireg: They’re Just Kids Havin’ Some Fun

Geoffrey Fafard: Face Down in the Sand

Weiyao Feng: The Flame of Paris

Grant Fraser: Lighthouse

Fabrizio Frosini: Blood Rain

Negar Gorji: Terror in Swan Lake

Bright Kwamina Grantson: The Error of Terror

Dilantha Gunawardana: Chess

Emdadul Hamid: UnInHabited Reality [see ‘Addendum’]

Birgitta Abimbola Heikka: Yerwa, City Ablaze [see ‘Addendum’]

Nosheen Irfan: The Fatal Moment

Galina Italyanskaya: Terror is a Synonym of Fear

Afrooz Jafarinoor: The Growth of a Word

Farzad Jahanbani: My Heart is in Torment

Vincent Chizoba John: Blood in the street

Kinyua Karanja: War on Terror

Sofia Kioroglou: Guns and Bullets

Varghese Kuncheria: The Earth Bleeds

Kelly Kurt: Unwritten Remedy (Poets for Peace)

Lionel Lerch (Cocteau Mot Lotov): Struggle for Death

Birgit Bunzel Linder: On the Train

Tapera Makadho: From Paris with Love

Kenneth Maswabi: Terror in the Minds of Men

Denzel Mbatha: With Wounded Lips..

Mallika Menon: A Cry for Peace

Leloudia Migdali: Cries of Pain, Bodies Scattered

Asoke Kumar Mitra: The Heartbreak that is Terrorism

Zoran Mitrović (Neran Sati): Prime Lines

Istvan Molnar: No Mercy

Souren Mondal: Red Ashes of War

Anitah Muwanguzi: My Life for Hers

Bharati Nayak: Mourning The Death of Innocent Flowers

Valsa George Nedumthallil: Down with Terrorism

Srijana Neupane (KC): We Humans?

Eunice Barbara C. Novio: The Crescent Moon

Fatima Obaid: Terrorism

Marcondes Pereira: Stanzas of Sadness (A Sonnet)

Sajee Rayaroth: There Will Be Tomorrow..

Marianne Larsen Reninger: Cell Theory

Terry Robinson (HE George): And The Writing’s on the Wall

Rizwan Saleem: Lend Me Your Tears

Leila Samarrai: Où vas-tu, Seigneur?

Kirti Sharma: It’s been so Many Years..

Anzelyne Shideshe: Mr Terror

Osiel Silverino da Silva: Flowers

Pamela Sinicrope: Habibi

Petra Soliman: Harmony Along

Douglas Stewart: Mourning, Marchons

Udaya R. Tennakoon: A Thunder Terrified Me

Richard Thézé: We are Charlie, We are Paris

Savita Tyagi: The Terrorist

Mai Murphy Venn: The Music Stopped

Niken Kusuma Wardani: Us and Them

Snir Yacoby: Might

Asma Zenjali: A Rude Awakening

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Poems translated into other Languages:

Sayeed Abubakar, into Bengali (transliterated):

Ekti Jhatar Prarthona

Alexandro Acevedo Johns, into Spanish:

Ofrenda contra el terrorismo de dos mujeres chilenas

Sophy Chen, into Chinese:

面对恐怖主义,诗歌是一无是处的是处

Fabrizio Frosini, into Italian:

Pioggia di Sangue

Lionel Lerch, aka Cocteau Mot Lotov, into French:

Lutte pour la mort

Birgit Bunzel Linder, into German:

Im Zug

Marcondes Pereira, into Portuguese:

Estrofes Da Tristeza

Osiel Silverino da Silva, into Portuguese:

Flores

Richard Thézé, into German and French:

Wir sind Charlie, Wir sind Paris

Nous sommes Charlie, nous sommes Paris

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Sayeed Abubakar, Bangladesh

A Broom’s Prayer to God against Terrorism

Often have I swept the floor, the veranda, the yard

and all the passages of the house.

I do not know whether as dedication or devotion

the rough hand of the housewife has,

by my daily use, swept our household clean.

And there are so many brooms accomplishing

such simple household chores!

O God, find for me a hardy and effective sweeper,

Who, with me, will once and for all, sweep the whole world clean.

How abundantly the earth is polluted with terrorism

and how immeasurably dust and dirt accumulate on all sides of the

world causing it to bloat like a decaying corpse,

frantically spreading its unmistakable, bad smell

And pervading and filling the very air we breathe.

O God, find for me a hardy and effective sweeper,

Who, with me, will once and for all, sweep the whole earth clean.

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[Version in Bengali – transliterated]

Ekti Jhatar Prarthona

Bahut diechhi jhat

Ghardor, baranda, uthon, barir charpasher jato pathghat.

Chokhghola grihinir khoskhose hat, jani na, ki neshai, na shakhe

Karechhe amake die chardik jhakjhake taktake.

Eisab sadamatha

Ghargerosthali karar jonne to aro kato achhe jhata;

Hai, Pravu, amake milie din birjobanto sei jharudar

Jhatikar hat die prithibike jhat debe je ektibar.

Astepristhe prithibir ki bisri santras, ki maila aborjona, fule fepe

otha jeno nasto kono lash,

Utkat durgandha charachchhe ullase, fule fepe uthtechhe

ujan batas;

He Paroar Degar, amake milie din erakom ekjan bir bahadur

Samasta santras prithibir pristha theke kore debe dur.

(Sayeed Abubakar)

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Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

‘A Broom’s Prayer to God against Terrorism’, by Abubakar, presents an extended metaphor likening the sweeping of a broom to clean a dirty house to the ‘wishful’ sweeping of a broom to rid the world of terrorism. The poem begins with the light-hearted, slightly humorous tone of a personified and mundane house broom. He explains how he is often used by the housewife to ‘sweep the floor, the veranda, the yard / and all the passages of the house’. It is a matter of some conjecture in the first stanza of the poem, whether the act of sweeping is, for the broom, as for the housewife, an act of dedication or devotion, like the cleansing daily ritual of prayer. The poem continues with the broom’s prayer to find for it ‘a hardy and effective sweeper, / Who, with me, will once and for all, sweep the whole earth clean’. The suggestion here is that it will take a strong and resolute sweeper, a strong and visionary leader perhaps, to rid the world of the scourge of terrorists and terrorism. The poet’s language is figurative as he employs a simile to describe how terrorism has affected the world: ‘How abundantly the earth is polluted with terrorism / and how immeasurably dust and dirt accumulate on all sides of the / earth causing it to bloat like a decaying corpse, / frantically spreading its unmistakable, bad smell’. Abubakar’s solution to terrorism, a sweeping clean of the earth, seems simplistic at first read, but upon deeper reflection, the poet’s intercessory prayer suggests that the solution to this most distressing and destructive world problem is far from simple.

Alexandro Acevedo Johns, Chile

The Cost of Terror and the Two Chilean Women

A grandmother, a mother and her five year old son

Were in Le Bataclan that day.

They had moved to Paris –

Away from the hatred of Los Andes.

From Chile they came, bringing only pain and nostalgia

To share your legacy, Douce France

And to embrace your Liberté.

Which woman can, by her thoughts alone,

Give us kisses sweeter than wine: a better life?

Though we die for her?

Only you, Douce France.

Whenever our towers collapse

We look straight to your Tour Eifel.

Nobody ever died of sadness close to you.

My compatriots learned to enjoy life

Until death fragments pierced their bodies.

They must have thought that across the ocean

The angry sounds of an earlier time

Had reached them from their distant lands.

And from that fire and with their souls, they protected the child,

Who was newly learning to name you.

Hand-in-hand, he walked out

With the little prince of Saint-Exupéry,

Toward the Boulevard Voltaire.

Since that day, he takes care of you, our beloved Liberté.

___________

Author’s note:

these verse are a tribute to Paris meant to honor the memory of two Chilean women who died in Le Bataclan: Patricia San Martín Núñez and her daughter Elsa Delplace San Martín, mother of a five-year-old boy who survived.

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[Spanish version]

Ofrenda contra el terrorismo de dos mujeres chilenas

La abuela, la madre y su hijo de cinco años

estaban aquel día en Le Bataclan.

Vivían en París luego del odio en Los Andes,

desde Chile llegaron con dolor y nostalgia

a compartir tu herencia, dulce Francia,

y repetir uno de tus nombres: Libertad.

¿Qué mujer puede dar besos

más dulces que el vino con su pensamiento?

¿Qué mujer puede entregar vida si morimos por ella?

Sólo tú, dulce Francia.

Cada vez que nuestras torres se derrumban

volvemos las miradas a tu Eiffel.

Sólo tú nos conoces en persona,

nadie muere de tristeza si está cerca de ti.

Mis compatriotas conocieron contigo el goce de vivir,

hasta qué las esquirlas de la muerte atravesaron sus cuerpos.

Ellas debieron pensar que cruzando el océano

el sonido de las furias de otro tiempo, de su tierra lejana,

las estaba alcanzando.

Eran otros dragones pero el fuego negro era el mismo.

Apenas pudieron cubrir con sus almas

al niño de cinco años que recién aprendía a nombrarte

que salió caminando de la mano del principito de Saint-Exupéry

hacia las calles del bulevar Voltaire.

El deberá cuidarte desde ahora, amada Libertad.

(Alexandro Acevedo Johns)

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

The ‘Cost of Terror and the Two Chilean Women’, by Johns, is the tragic tribute to Paris, to Parisians and to a family of Chilean immigrants who lost two of their members: the mother of a five-year-old child and his grandmother. The first two stanzas of the poem focus on the immigration of a family that came to Paris to escape political oppression and terrorism in Chile. They came in search of liberté – of freedom. The poet introduces the idea of France as a symbol for democracy and freedom and that when these things collapse in other parts of the world, as they did in Chile, they can still be relied upon in France to be as straight and true as the Eifel Tower: ‘/ Whenever our towers collapse / We look straight to your Tour Eifel /’. The November attacks in Paris seem to echo the turbulent past of the two Chilean women in the poem: ‘/ They must have thought / That across the ocean / The angry sounds of an earlier time / Had reached them from their distant lands /’. The poet leaves us with a final image – a five-year-old who has barely had time to get to know his mother and grandmother. They too, have had little time to instill in him their values they hold most dear. However, the little boy is a symbol of hope for the future as he now carries the baton as the protector of what his mother and grandmother dies for: la liberté.

Billan Abdirhman Adam, Somalia

Terrorism

 

[see ‘Addendum’]

Umaima Ahmed, Pakistan

A Suicide

 

[see ‘Addendum’]

Saadat Tahir Ali, Pakistan

Smeared in Blood

Would that a deliverer looks our way

Would that a helper descends this day

This dawn’s face too smeared in blood

Home again marred by piles of mud

Had yet to flourish, those tender flowers

Beastly hands snatched from bowers

Blooming innocent smiling faces

Early skipped to school in races

Books in hands, their quills too

Rainbow dreams, what they would do

Soiled in carmine all those roses

What the resolve of bloodied noses

Where the moms shall find their pearl

Or the themes of their visions unfurl

Dearer than life those bits of being

Stony eyes now snatched of seeing

Giggles laughter and their Smile

Writhe and throe in death defile

We are rent, with slash and gore

Our backs bent, above vultures soar

O wake up people! O wake up now!

Stem the deeds of fiendish hands!

O wake up people! O wake up now!

Let’s rid our home of terror bands!

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Tahir Saadat’s rhyming couplets bring a traditional type of music to his poetry. It seems to be very much a part of the oral tradition of what we call the Ballad Tradition, the four-line stanza with a rhyme scheme a/b//a/b, with an elemental subject matter, often involving extreme emotions of love, honor, revenge. The simplified vocabulary releases enormous reserves of energy. The poet compares the children to flowers, their dreams to rainbows, their futures to pearls, but all is lost in the attack by ‘beastly hands’ pulling triggers. In the beginning of the poem the poet wished for a divine intervention, but at the end he appeals to the human community of decent people to show a united front ‘to stem the deeds of fiendish hands’. This very night I saw the poet’s scenario happen at a local park where children were running and playing joyously under the watchful gaze of their parents.

Paul Amrod, USA

Crusader in Black

Erecting the exodus of irreproachable refugees

will be for the status quo an inexplicable parody.

Ironically collecting extremists the advocates contest

their choice of mercenaries they viciously embody.

Therefore the black crusader is empowered on his march

His desolate psyche is deathlike and his conscious is dark

He held his dangling rosary while beseeching our Maria

Left by the admirable emerged in careless recklessness

Forgotten are all his horrors as he has been gifted with amnesia

Doing the bidding of the hierarchy that causes his dismay

Saying God’s mother is his bystander until the judgment day.

Pledging his incessant allegiance to his matriarch and Queen

His actions are despicable and catastrophic to say the least.

It has filled my heart with fear and my stomach with disgust.

Appealing to ethereal choirs to chant Alleluia and intervene

Remembering waging war is invariably life’s grayest hour

A failure in negotiations where all souls wait to reconvene

So our conquistador will disgracefully turn his unrighteous back

His armor is soon dilapidated and his surroundings will devour

the preciousness of modesty as we recite our humble elegiac

describing the wandering castaways who hope he’s overpowered.

Curse and mock the false sincerity which fathers these thoughts of stress

recommending our dependency and destroying our brilliant oversight.

Conceiving our independence free from propaganda and media’s influence

we will resurrect our Pax Eterna with the assistance of a nonmaterial quest.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

This poem discusses the world’s challenge of taking in the refugees from Syria. The poem opens with a presentation of the major problem of the refugees being tainted due to terrorists infiltrating their ranks: ‘/ Erecting the exodus of irreproachable refugees / will be for the status quo an inexplicable parody /’. A crusader is generally perceived as an advocate for a political, social, or religious cause. In this case, the crusader is in black, a negative connotation, suggesting that Amrod, is highlighting the failure of our leaders to address the refugee crisis in a way that is peaceful (‘pax eterna’) and without consideration of how it will benefit the leaders rather than the refugees (‘non-material’). Line by line, Amrod, unveils the religious, political, and social hypocrisy and conflict associated with our world’s leaders in deciding whether and how many refugees to accept into their countries.

Leah Ayliffe, Canada

Lions

I’m learning to soak in everything this world holds,

Just as it is.

‘Cause it’s whatever I want it to be.

I want it to be beautiful and wonderful

And all things extraordinary.

There is no place for mediocrity because the earth is magic.

The ocean listens to our thoughts and sends them back with the tide to kiss the

ground with our dreams, to nourish the flowers and trees that grow within our minds.

Remember to be kind behind those eyes,

It blazes contagious like wildfire.

I feel so close to something

Something real, something good,

Some place where the sideline dreamers have come together to inspire

a way to do more than just survive.

To live free to our unusual methods of existing,

And not be scared to take a risk which will not be understood by the infamous

‘them’, a fear I knew too well just the other day.

We can be the artist of reality and paint our roads to go in whichever direction we desire,

keeping our feet on the ground.

We can do whatever it takes to be happiness.

Surrender to yourself, fearless of what the sheep may say,

For they are sheep.

And you – me – we –

We are lions.

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

Ayliffe hopefully calls humankind not involved in terrorism, ‘Lions’, and the terrorists, the ‘sheep’. A Lion is a powerful symbol of heroism, independence, and leadership. Lions remain deaf to the sheep mentality, responding only to the message of courage, fearlessness and light. Ayliffe’s poem ends with these strong words, intended presumably to inspire the reader to let go of fear, not listen to the words of terrorists, whether to incite fear or to galvanize murderous actions. She uses figurative language and beautiful imagery to remind the reader to respect and love the earth, life, and to spread this love and appreciation to everyone. She also reminds us that like terrorism, love can spread: ‘/ Remember to be kind behind those eyes, / It blazes contagious like wildfire /’. Another important theme in her writing is letting go of fear. She writes, ‘/ Surrender to yourself, fearless of what the sheep may say, / For they are sheep /’.

Khaoula Basty, Tunisia

Belief

Believe that the world is in peace

Believe that all humans live in peace

God has sent down peace

Why is the world a tragedy?

Why are all humans fighting each other?

Why do we die hurting, torturing and killing

OURSELVES BY OURSELVES?

Why is there no humanity?

Why is there no love?

Why is there no sincerity?

Why is there no peace?

Why is there no charity?

Why do we destroy Humanity?

Why?

Come together people

Let us unify

Let us live in peace

Let us protect our nature

Let us plant roses instead of bombs

Let us water earth with water instead of blood

Let us release doves instead of firing

Let us love each other

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY

And don’t hate each other in the name of war

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Do you know the intense kinship between a human being and his or her beliefs? Have you felt a charge of energy course through your being at the mere mention of one of your core beliefs? Do you see your belief system as a kind of scrim between yourself and the world? Today’s terrorists would respond with an enthusiastic ‘Yes’ to all three. It is as Yeats put it in ‘Second Coming’, in 1939: ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity’. Khaoula Basty confronts the contribution of motivating beliefs in advancing terrorism. The first fourteen lines of this twenty-four line poem ask no fewer than ten questions about such beliefs. If I had to select the essential idea embodied in the first half of the poem it would be the capitalized phrase in line seven: ‘OURSELVES BY OURSELVES’. Exactly, terrorism is the key drama in contemporary politics and we humans are its players. It is up to us to resolve the crisis. It is up to us to make the world a better place. Khaoula Basty is very clear and confident on this point: ‘God has sent down peace’. It is up to us to preserve that divine peace, and make it expand and flourish. In the second half of the poem another key idea is capitalized: ‘IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY’. Exactly, whatever we do to remedy this troubled state of the world, it will be done by human beings for human beings because of our common humanity. This eloquent poem is a moral blueprint for the way out of our dilemma.

Lawrence Beck, USA

Slipping Away from Decadence

They sat with you for years. You gave no

Thought to all the things they saw: the lies,

The mealy-mouthed evasions. Everything

Which everyone in your debased, decrepit

World said was said to line their pockets.

That’s just how one gets ahead. You kiss

Up to your boss, and kick whoever’s underneath

You to a bloody pulp, and then move on.

There’s no such thing as greater good, and,

Thus, no reason to sit up and leave your chair

To pledge your life. Let that be some

Sucker’s job, but now you see that they’re

The suckers, having slipped off while you

Slept to take up arms in Syria because

They think they’ve seen the truth. They’re

Sure they’re finished with evasions. Heads

Will roll. That’s sort of sad, but certainty

Exacts its costs, and, anyway, a head or two,

Unsteady, rolling on the streets outside of

Latakia or Aleppo is a price worth paying

To obtain the greater good.

*

Commentary by Sinicrope:

Similar to other poets in this series, Beck focuses his writing on inequality, and the role that it plays in terrorism. The title, ‘Slipping Away from Decadence’, is both a call to action and ironic, in that he suggests that humanity has a long way to go in this regard. He cleverly uses the pronouns ‘you’ and ‘they’ to refer to ‘you,’ the reader, as well as ‘you,’ the humanity outside of the terrorists. He highlights our comfort in not getting involved with the terrorism in the Middle East when he writes, ‘/ There’s no such thing as greater good, and, / Thus, no reason to sit up and leave your chair / To pledge your life. Let that be some / Sucker’s job../’. Ironically, he points out just the opposite reaction from the terrorist, indicating that unlike ‘us’, ‘they’ [the terrorists] have indeed taken action. He writes, ‘/ They think they’ve seen the truth. They’re / Sure they’re finished with evasions. Heads Will roll../’. His writing shows that while we’re apathetic and inactive, the terrorists are just the opposite, and because of our apathy and their dogmatism, violence will ensue. He ends his well-written poem with a hopeful appeal to the reader to consider taking action ‘/ to obtain the greater good /’.

Daniel Brick, USA

A Dance

In Memoriam

Victims of the Paris Massacre

November 13, 2015

Oh, the nights in Paris!

We have been temporary Parisians for two weeks, and every hour

our delight is keener. We might expect to be jaded, weary of nocturnal

pleasures, ready to sink into complacency and complaint.

But no exhaustion of body and soul assails us. We are like pilgrims refreshed

after reaching their goal, celebrating a festival of

expectations, in a city where the clocks run backwards

giving us more time than we consume.

Just yesterday we bonded with strangers, all of us neighbors of the

autumn night which welcomed us, as if honey spilled out of the

moon’s interior and fell to earth along with its pale blue light

to sweeten everything it touched, flowing over us, making even the

saddest person among us shine with simple pleasure.

After the concert, we shuffled toward the exit, pressed body to body,

all of us smiling because some inner delight in each of us stretched forth,

blending together in the warmth of the moment.

When we hit the street, and the cold air slapped our cheeks, we

suddenly joined hands, and began to dance in a long line of revelers,

twisting and swaying, singing snatches of songs, or just shouting our

joy to the moon. Pedestrians with other goals to reach joined our ranks,

all of us laughing at the sheer nonsense of all this frivolity. We became for

that moment what we are meant to be – one body becoming one soul.

And then almost as quickly as it began, the dance came to its end, as people

hugged and separated.

And we dispersed, under the honeyed light of the moon.

___________

Author’s note:

The terrible and terrifying Paris massacre on November 13, 2015, targeted people who were enjoying the arts of peace, sharing a night of pleasure in each other’s company. The terrorists consider such communal joy offensive to their beliefs and murder to be a proper response to assert their difference. I read the many responses to this horrendous twisted attitude in poems posted over the past several hours, and soon felt the need to join this chorus of voices affirming the arts of peace. I did what poets do all the time: used my imagination to create an alternate reality, just as attainable as the violence was among people of good will.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Brick’s joyous poem presents us with a beacon of hope and celebration in the midst of chaos and despair. He evokes an imagined peace rally following a concert to show how the world has ‘bonded with strangers’ both near and far to show their support for the people of France, following the terrorist attacks of November 2015. He writes,‘/ We have been temporary Parisians for two weeks, and every hour /’, and ‘/ Just yesterday we bonded with strangers, all of us neighbors of the / autumn night which welcomed us, as if honey spilled out of the / moon’s interior and fell to earth along with its pale blue light / to sweeten everything it touched, flowing over us, making even the / saddest person among us shine with simple pleasure /’. His poetic description of a community coming together and celebrating their unity after attending a concert and then including all the people they find in the streets, shows a strong sense of love, hope, community, and ‘collective soul’. These are just the elements needed in all societies to make it possible to counteract terrorism and start to solve major world problems. While the purpose of terrorism is to scare us and prevent us from living our normal day-to-day lives, his poem demonstrates another way that highlights unity, brotherhood, love and peace. He also describes a response that would not only be the antithesis of terror, but that would be healing and make us better as a society.

Sophy Chen, China

Faced with Terrorism, Poetry is Nothing’s Nothing

After being online for 24 hours, searching all of the search engines,

Trying all of the key words, in all the entangled web of the internet,

I found not the slightest trace of you.

After being online for 48 hours, like a cat on a hot tin roof,

Again and again, slaving over a steaming pan,

In order to better see you in your true colours, and to let you hear me crying,

I still found not the slightest trace of you.

After being online 72 hours, I, like a moth to a flame,

Again and again, trying to go beyond the illusory screen images

In order to show off my best dancing in front of you

And to let you see my final moment as I crash and burn.

I’ve searched the whole earth, following your clues

And from the labyrinthine depths of the internet,

I got a glimpse of your few, brief words —

Faced with terrorism, poetry is pale and powerless,

Faced with terrorism, poetry is nothing,

I’ve searched the whole universe, researching your origin and your end,

And at its extent, I got a glimpse of the original code you left behind —

Faced with terrorism, poetry is powerless’ powerlessness,

Faced with terrorism, poetry is nothings’ nothingness.

*

[Chinese version]

面对恐怖主义,诗歌是一无是处的是处

我24小时挂在网上,我更换了所有搜索引擎

所有关键词,在互联网的夹缝里

我嗅见了你的一丝气息

我48小时挂在网上,像热锅上的蚂蚁

一次次试图,漫过这热气腾腾的油锅

好看清你的真面目,好让你听见我在哭泣

我72小时挂在网上,我飞蛾扑火

一次次试图,越过那幻象中的画屏

好在你面前展现,我最完美的舞姿

好让你看得见,我坠入火海,那永恒的瞬间

我寻遍了整个地球,追寻你的蛛丝马迹

从互联网的缝隙里,我窥见了你的只言片语—

面对恐怖主义,诗歌苍白无力

面对恐怖主义,诗歌一无是处

我寻遍了整个宇宙,探求你的缘起缘灭

在宇宙的裂缝里,我窥见了你残留的原代码—

面对恐怖主义,诗歌是无力的无力

面对恐怖主义,诗歌是一无是处的是处

(Sophy Chen)

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

This is a ‘Poem of Despair’. It is also a ‘Poem of Grief’. It was motivated perhaps by a desperate hope that the heritage of human culture embodied in poetry can explain terrorism, and offer an understanding of why it exists. Many of us resorted to the internet on that fateful night to seek information, but also to connect to like-minded people to reassure our hearts all was not lost. This poet’s experience was especially traumatic, as she knew it would be. The mismatch between what she hoped to find and what is actually available deepened her grief. Her futile search lasted for three days during which she sacrificed her time, her comfort and her sleep. It is important to note: at no time does the poet see herself as an exceptional individual; her poetry may indeed be exceptional, but in her being she is simply one among many, just like the victims. She uses a variety of metaphors to describe the nature of her search. For example, the “entangled web”, a “steaming pan”, “illusory screen”, but the most resonant is the “labyrinthine depths”. But instead of encountering a murderous beast, she finds only darkness and confusion. Unlike the ancient myth, there is no decisive victory over the beast confined to the labyrinth. In our world the beast is terrorism, and it is loose in the world. The poet’s conclusion has been signaled in the title and in the first line, but she reiterates it with a slight intensification in her last lines. Sometimes a poem has its own direction and subtly slips out of the poet’s conscious control. The poet herself may discover this hidden agenda upon re-reading. My personal feeling is that the intensity and completeness of this poet’s work belie her conclusion that ‘Poetry is Nothing’. Furthermore, it is her effort in writing this poem that convinces me her closing statement is premature. Her poem is a frail ‘Ariadne’s Thread’ that leads the poet, her readers and all other people of good will out of the dark labyrinth of a world victimized by terrorism, into the bright upper world where people band together and affirm their humane values.

Terence George Craddock, New Zealand

Terrorism Holds A Bloody Knife At Innocent Throats

terrorism feeds on fear strikes through terror images

terrorism seeks to steal security peace of mind places

terrorism holds a bloody knife at your throat threatens

to attack you at work home in daylight or dark streets

terrorism threatens with suicide bombs suicide vests

with staged indifference to life martyr earns paradise

images of burnt burning buildings blown apart bodies

innocent women children slaughtered in shopping mall

restaurants cafes shops offices streets are terror targets

a beautiful holiday scene hot sun luxury tourist bikini beaches

warm sand cool wind calming turquoise water pampered nights

wake to daylight stalked terror shoot dead bodies are foreigners

target you innocent prey executed for extremist radical ideals

trapped between exists former safe shoreline selected victims

are horror hunted down videoed with taunting shot indifference

media stupid invades sanctuary homes serving terrorist causes

highlights shot knifed slowly beheaded mass public executions

but we free world citizens refuse to fear utter terrorist names

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The title, repeated as the third line of the prose poem, is especially chilling, because if the knife is already bloody, it means the killing has started and it can only escalate. In fact, for the duration of this prose poem, killing never abates, it is relentless and disheartening. A more conventional verse format might allow a respite, but this prose poem is like the flood of newsprint that goes on and on. Only the proud assertion of the last line offers a respite: ‘We free world citizens refuse to fear’. This prose poem is carefully patterned to give an overview of terrorist activities. The first paragraph shows how pervasively terrorism attempts to infiltrate our lives. The brief second paragraph deals with women and children as genuine targets. The third paragraph focuses on attacks on holiday and vacation sites. There is a strain of extreme puritanism in the terrorists: they do not trust pleasure and delight, and attack people enjoying themselves with special virulence. In the last paragraph the poet considers people hunted down for the propaganda value of their murder, and chides the press for giving terrorists the exposure they covet. I don’t want to close without considering Terence’s choice of the prose poem format over verse. I am speculating here but I believe he consciously silenced his lyric voice so that he could report on terrorism in the style of the print media.

Sahra Hussein Dahir, Somalia

Save the Humanity

I was a child, who had a dream

Happiness was the theme

Until it broke up into pieces,

Pieces I couldn’t put back together.

And the stress increased,

I couldn’t hold my bones together,

Because I couldn’t shape,

My pain; the pain I could not escape.

Screaming, flying pieces

Baffling, freaking faces

Bleeding head like a flowing river

I can’t do anything but shiver

Isn’t it worth it to hear our cry, why?

We’re hurt more than just physically.

Isn’t it worth it to save us from terrorists?

Isn’t it worth it to save the world?

Isn’t it worth it to not blame all Muslims?

I know how it feels when the violence happens quickly

I know how it feels when you panic, scream and shake

I know how it feels when saving your life is risky

I know how it feels losing the one you love

Let’s save the world from terror

Let’s hold hands and save humanity

Let’s clean our head from the error

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

‘Save the humanity’, By Sahra Dahir, is a heartfelt plea written by a young poet from Somalia who has experienced the violence of terrorism firsthand. Her well written poem opens up with her bearing witness to how her childhood dreams of happiness were replaced with a grim reality of war and terrorism. The style of writing begins in a sing song tone of voice, but then the language becomes dark and graphic. She writes, ‘/ My pain; the pain I could not escape. / Screaming, flying pieces, / Baffling, freaking faces, / Bleeding head like a flowing river; / I can’t do anything but shiver /’. After expressing personal visions of death and destruction, the remainder of the poem again shifts gears as an appeal to the reader or to humanity to take notice of their suffering and take action. She explains that we [victims of terrorism] are hurt more than physically. There is, presumably, also fear, mental pain, PTSD, and deep sadness. She implores the reader to consider the worthiness of combating terrorism, saving the world, and also not blaming all Muslims for the acts of extreme terrorists. After this appeal, the poet shares via the use of the word ‘I’, that she has experienced terrorism firsthand: the fear and witnessing of violence, risking one’s life, and the death of loved ones. The closing stanza returns to the heartfelt plea, again reiterating the value of ridding the world of terrorism. She implores humanity to come together to ‘hold hands’ and ‘save humanity’ from the ‘error’ of terrorism.

Driss Ezzireg, Morocco

They’re Just Kids Havin’ Some Fun

Hold on, boys, hold on.

No need to show off your muscles around.

The place is not a boxin’ ring.

Nor a battlefield for you to run;

Merely a fair playground;

With just some kids havin’ fun.

Hold on, boys, hold on

World peace, wisdom and harmony

Will never be offshoots of weaponry.

For goodness sake; drop your guns;

They’re just kids havin’ some fun.

Your evil masters have made fools you

Turned you out bullets in their hands.

And they’ve promised you lands

Of plenty. Oh, what a pity!

We could cherish you surely

Were it not for your deeds.

Bloody deeds, indeed.

Unforgiven.

And they were just kids havin’ some fun!

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Three times Driss Ezzireg repeats the poem’s title in the poem, and each time the mismatch of that notion of kids just having fun and the reality of murder and mayhem is almost impossible to bear. The poem focuses on the psychology of these gun enthusiasts, their candor, their obtuseness about being manipulated, their bravado. They no doubt scoff at the speaker’s statement of moral purpose: ‘World peace, wisdom and harmony / Will never be offshoots of weaponry’. I cannot imagine how they will respond to the speaker’s almost apologetic plea: ‘For goodness sake; drop your guns’. But the unemphatic tone of this speaker either reveals his or her naïveté or cunning. I think it is meant to be subversive, sarcastic, and safe. People who confront the men with guns must be circumspect. I’m reminded of an acid comment Humphrey Bogart makes in ‘The Big Sleep’ as he skillfully disarms a would-be tough guy: “So many guns in this city, so few brains”. But the tone of the speaker suddenly shifts to one of utmost moral seriousness: ‘/ We could cherish you surely / Were it not for your deeds. / Bloody deeds, indeed. / Unforgiven /’. Innocent civilians murdered. Children murdered. Fear rampant. The fabric of society shredded. Does this add up crimes that cannot be forgiven?

Geoffrey Fafard, Australia

Face Down in the Sand

Immigrant father from the land of terror

What have you learnt now that your son is dead?

Conscripted youth fleeing back to the land of terror

What awaits you my child, my boy, my dead young man?

The desert sand and a bomb in your arms

Pray brother before your bullets of death

Thud into their target of random life

Seconds before your own time to go

Do you consider that perhaps there is no martyrdom

Just a place in the sand for your face to fall?

At least your startled target fell without the worry of

A life of torment and self torture

It is a fine line that separates you both

Lying side by side face down in the sand

I will ask the innocent I will ask the brave

I will ask the beautiful what side of that

Fine line will they choose to lie down on

Along with me I think they will sleep face down in the sand

Forever smiling of their choice

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The title of this poem, ‘Face Down in the Sand’, refers to the blunt fact of death. Whether the dead person is an innocent victim or the perpetrating terrorist, the fact of death is the same, and the reduction of a vital human being to a corpse conveys neither pathos nor glory. The poet is challenging the terrorists: Is this your politics? Is this the reality on which you build the future? In the opening stanza a father addresses a son who joined the terrorists in three nouns: ‘ [..] my child, my boy, my dead young man’. A whole life goes by in those three nouns, a life cut short by early adulthood. The life of violence kills those who embrace it. However, the terrorists don’t see things in this way. Someone once called terrorism the poor man’s nuclear bomb, because both weapons inspire widespread fear. And fear is one of the chief goals of contemporary urban terrorism. Its target is “random life”. The very randomness of the killings is what pushes fear through the targeted community, a fear that lingers long after the act of violence is done. Random violence against random life means every person can become a victim, no one is safe. Fear accumulates and affects every aspect of existence. The very dailiness of our lives, our natural confidence in each day’s dawning, our expectation of good things for ourselves, our families, our neighbors every day – these are the facts of human life the terrorists aim to destroy. At the end of the poem we return to that desolate picture of death from the beginning. The poet summons each of the dead to make a moral assessment of their life and death. It is a grim reckoning. But the poet assures us the innocent victims are smiling because theirs was the life of bravery and beauty.

Weiyao Feng, China

The Flame of Paris

The night was remarkably quiet,

And Paris so special and nice,

The streets they all but glittered,

Like a mirror of joy and of peace.

But an air-borne chill, quite sudden,

Cast shadows dark with fear,

A tempest fierce with terror,

Blew the quiet street into despair.

Still we, in blood and fire and flame,

Drew strength from the tumult and forged,

With love, a rainbow as our guard,

Against the storm’s most turbulent scourge.

And by this shining beacon’s blazing light,

We saw the road through our darkest night.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Feng’s narrative poem, ‘The Flame of Paris’, is an uplifting poetic tribute to the people of Paris and the world who demonstrate an ability to overcome fear and terror through love, light, and strength. Using rhyme and figurative language, the poet reminds us that before the terror attacks, Paris was a beautiful place with beautiful streets until terrorists provoked fear and despair. The poet juxtaposes the blood of Parisians with ‘fire and flame’, but the tempestuous wind from the bomb blasts only serve to strengthen the lifeblood of Paris and of Parisians. This well-crafted poem expresses heartfelt respect for the strength and love of Parisians and all victims of terror to overcome fear and prevail.

Grant Fraser, UK

Lighthouse

Do you consternate because I have disposed of a God I couldn’t fathom?

Do you hate because I do not believe?

Do you think I’m in denial?

bloisodiseye!’

Oh! Puppetry of War,

As your blood spattered deeds quietly await you,

Silently, the gargantuan black curtain will close:

the eternal sleep,

where life on Earth will eventually vanish..

One day, the bright molecules no more,

v a s t stretches of dune and ice, enveloped in darkness,

Until then, C H A O S, perhaps that’s all there is?

Will we ever refine the Angelic Demon within?

If I am bad, then I am still at work,

For I am prepared to fight:

with oneself towards enlightenment,

Thou Shalt Not Kill for this,

What makes you so different?

For it is now YOU that I cannot fathom.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Fraser’s ‘Lighthouse’ represents an earthly, non-religious, and metaphorical beacon of light and reason in a time of nonsense, violence, religiosity, and terrorism. The poem’s angry tone addresses ‘you’ [the terrorists] and is written in first person, from the viewpoint of either the Lighthouse or the speaker in the poem. Fraser opens his poem with the lines, ‘/ Do you consternate because I have disposed of a God I couldn’t fathom? / Do you hate because I do not believe? / / Oh! Puppetry of War, / As your blood spattered deeds quietly await you /’. The poem emphasizes the fact that until life on earth no longer exists we humans are destined to live in disorder and chaos.. or are we? He writes: ‘/ Where life on Earth will eventually vanish.. / / Until then, C H A O S, perhaps that’s all there is?/’ So the speaker in the poem still leaves out the possibility for the goodness of man when he asks, ‘/ Will we ever refine the angelic demon within?/’ He goes further to state, ‘/ If I am bad, then I am still at work, / For I am prepared to fight: / With oneself towards enlightenment /’. These lines shows the capacity of man for both good or evil with use of reason and also the intention of the speaker to fight for the goodness left in him. In essence, he is like the lighthouse, a beacon of hope. The two one-line stanzas state, ‘/ Thou shalt not kill for this. / What makes you so different?/’ He means you do not kill to reach enlightenment or paradise, the same as all of us regardless. This is a direct statement to terrorists who think they are going to paradise following suicide and mass murder in the name of Allah. The final line separates those with reason from misguided terrorists: ‘For it is now YOU that I cannot fathom’.

Fabrizio Frosini, Italy

Blood Rain

November 13, 2015, Paris – Europe, our world

Cowards, unworthy, ruthless,

They claim true respect for themselves, while

Not even pretending respect for others.

Cold stares, cruel stares, devoid of humanity

—Pity is not what they want.

In the aftermath of love and hatred

That colour their inner world

Their emptiness gives you the creeps.

In a race to the bottom, first you

Proclaim your withering scorn,

Devising a derogatory term to refer to them,

Then herald your pitiful disregard

And thus your ultimate victory upon them.

Yet, you find it all the more sad.

—Helpless, hopeless, forlorn

The blood rain keeps on falling gently onto

Barren ground.

[November 13, 2015 : terrorist attacks in Paris]

*

[Italian version]

Pioggia di Sangue

13 Novembre 2015, Parigi – l’Europa, il nostro mondo

Codardi, indegni, spietati,

Pretendono rispetto per se stessi, senza

Neppure fingere rispetto per gli altri.

Sguardi freddi, sguardi crudeli, privi di umanità

—Compassione non è quello che cercano.

Nel seguito di amore ed odio

Che dà colore al loro mondo interiore

La loro vacuità ti dà i brividi

In una corsa al ribasso, affermi

Prima il tuo sprezzante

Disprezzo, coniando

Un termine dispregiativo per riferirsi a loro,

Poi proclami la tua pietosa indifferenza

E, così, la definitiva vittoria.

Tuttavia, trovi tutto ciò ancora più triste

—Indifesa, disperata,

La pioggia di sangue continua a cadere dolcemente su

Terra sterile

[13 Novembre 2015 : attacco terroristico a Parigi]

(Fabrizio Frosini)

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Poets have a history of contributing to the discourse on the state of our world, with respect to highlighting problems, posing solutions, or providing healing in times of trouble. Often, their goal is to get us simply to think, take notice, and consider our role in society. In the case of ‘Blood Rain’, Frosini shares a viewpoint on the recent attacks in Paris (November 13, 2015). To begin, the title, ‘Blood Rain’, provides an image of pain, darkness, and death that is a metaphor for the innocents killed in all of the terror attacks that affect everyone. Throughout the systematically laid out poem, we view the attacks from a telescopic lens that goes into sharp focus and then pans out again for a larger world view. The poem is laid out systematically. The first stanza provides an emotional outlet for the anger toward the attackers, describing them as ‘Cowards, unworthy, ruthless’ who demand respect but give none. The second and third stanzas, provide a poet’s interpretation of their mind with words that evoke images from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Hollow Men’, suggesting that the terrorists have lost their humanity and their souls, with the words, ‘Cold stares, cruel stares, devoid of humanity / / In the aftermath of love and hatred / That gives hues to their inner world / Their emptiness gives you the creeps’. Here, the emptiness refers to the lack of soul and the preceding words suggest how they got to soullessness, through confusion between love and hatred that left them empty; and we as a society are left to deal with the aftermath of their confusion. You can ‘see’ this emptiness in their cold and cruel stares. Like Eliot’s ‘Hollow Men’, their eyes tell the story. An interesting line in these stanzas is ‘Pity is not what they want’. Here, the writer does not tell us what they want or explain further. We are left to ponder this on our own. This lack of explanation demonstrates the hopelessness of addressing an undefined desire. In the fourth and fifth stanzas, Frosini fades out for a wider perspective. He writes: ‘In a race to the bottom, you’. The line ends with an enjambment. This emphasis literally brings ‘you’ into his poem with poetic force! This is a common theme in his writing, using ‘you’ to refer directly to the reader, but also to society, who is looking in with him on a world problem (the ones who are hopefully still human and have an intact soul). He continues on to describe a world ‘gut’ reaction of strong emotion, whereby ‘you’ react by calling the attackers names, expressing scorn, and then proclaiming to have victory over them. In essence, Frosini demonstrates strong words on the part of world leaders, but words devoid of thoughtful action to address the complicated problem. He emphasizes this view with the one line fifth stanza, ‘Yet, you [you the individual, and not the world leader] find it all the more sad’. The line ‘in a race to the bottom’, suggests the risk of all of us, for stooping down to the level of the inhuman attackers. What happens then? Are ‘you’ the ones who are most like the ‘Hollow Men’? The final stanza of Frosini’s poem pulls back even further with a dismal assessment on the tragedy and sadness of the event with the words ‘/—Helpless, hopeless, forlorn / The blood rain keeps on falling gently onto / Barren ground /’. The first three descriptive adjectives describe how we all feel: the attackers, the world leaders, poets, all of us. The second line emphasizes the hopelessness, that despite our words, our feelings, our actions, the blood of innocent or ‘gentle’ victims continues to fall on us. The final line of the poem, is the most painful: ‘Barren ground’. Despite everything, our world has not grown or reacted in a healing effective way to fix the problem from its source. Once again, a civilization is self-destructing. While this poem provides a dismal unsettling perspective, I view it as a provocative challenge from Frosini to act to find our collective soul. As a civilization, we can give up, or we can choose to think, to act, to make an effort to stop the rain.

Negar Gorji, Iran

Terror in Swan Lake

Wavy hands on the sky,

Whirling skirts, a throng of swans

As white as snow while weeping appears

And the most glorious one,

Odette, with the golden crown

On her head gapes the swans.

The lyre and violin start moaning

And the swans with their broken hearts

Start dancing –Their hope of finding love

Flashes from their rainy eyes.

Out of the blue, the prince comes,

Embraces the shaky Odette

And the music is harmonized to their dance,

Cheerful faces, staring at each other

Like nothing can separate them

And the ground slips under their feet

As if they want to fly..

Suddenly it gets cold and dark, the lake freezes over,

The lovers and their companies are imprisoned,

A man in black, armed to the teeth,

With nothing but death in his eyes,

From nowhere, shoots the beloved swan

Red feathers all over the ground,

The bloody, broken lake drowns all the swans

And the fragmented lyre no more plays. Never..

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The relationship between Negar Gorji’s poem and the topic of ‘Poets Against Terrorism’ may seem elusive to some, but a closer look at the poem reveals a complex interplay of images of art with events in the world. The poem is really an extended simile, which could be simply but inadequately stated: A terrorist attack on young people enjoying a rock concert is like a performance of a ballet interrupted by an intrusion of real, not make-believe tragedy. Of course, we grasp the tenor of this figure of speech is the November 13, 2015 Paris massacre, but in the fashion of figurative language, little is said about the tenor. Instead, the vehicle, the reference point of comparison/contrast, is elaborated. For the vehicle, the poet chose, significantly, the Petipa/Tchaikovsky ballet, ‘Swan Lake’, a work of sublime pathos and heart-felt catharsis. The two halves of this simile certainly do not connect on the level of plot or action. You could say the ballet is about the quest for a love of epic proportions, transcending ordinary life, a quest briefly fulfilled and then cruelly crushed. And you could say the terrorists attacked a rock concert they considered immoral, and young people they considered sinners. Both are valid statements, but they miss the link between the two events the poet intended. In modern society, both ballet and rock concerts are artistic events, and no moral censure spoils the enjoyment. Both take place in an atmosphere best characterized as the ‘Arts of Peace’. Both give us respite from the drudgery and hardships of existence. We come forth from the theater refreshed, delighted, joyous. It is a completely innocent secular state of grace that the arts confer upon us. But the terrorists cannot tolerate it, condone it, live in the same world with it. With their guns and bombs, they make a void where there was beauty. The poet evokes the wonder of art and sets it against the horror of violence. Is this a feasible position? Well, Dostoevsky attributed to his saintly Prince Myshkin the belief that “Beauty will save the world”. And I sense the poet who wrote this idealistic counterpart to the Paris attack saying, “I hope sadness does not enter your world”.

Bright Kwamina Grantson, Ghana

The Error of Terror

As the world is plagued by greater and greater division, economic and political suppression

Terrorism causes distraction and it’s travelling worldwide in diffusion.

Rebels are recruited from all nations to the middle direction to cause affliction

And to keep nations in a state of confusion

The last time I was in Lagos, I wanted to find something to eat

So as I was walking along the street, I then realized I had left my wallet

In the bedroom of my apartment.

As I made an about turn and walked about in minutes of ten

I heard an explosion, in my supposed direction

People dying like flies, women could not control their eyes

I look at the people of Nigeria, and I see the scars of Terrorism.

So how long shall they kill our brothers, our sisters and our mothers.

Shall we sit down and let these men live like free men

At the expense of innocent souls? Where are the Winston Churchill’s?

Where are the Kennedys? Where are the Kwame Nkrumah’s?

Where are the Napoleon’s the JJ Rawlings’

I strongly believe in the Great Man theory that, leaders are born in the times of such crisis.

In times of pain and affliction, they rise from the ashes of destruction to redeem their nation.

As such leaders of the world should arise

Let’s fight terrorism until the last man dies.

Let’s fight for our children, for them to know that we did not back down.

That we did not surrender to the evil of this world and that we did not give in.

That we rose up sacrificing everything so that they can live

In faith and not in fear. Love and not in hate

In Freedom and Justice.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Bright’s title is very well chosen. It is a wise choice, and also a clever one, for reasons I will specify. But first, his moral purpose in writing this poem is clear even on first reading. “In The Name of The Children” is his anthem, and this is equal to affirming both ‘Love’ and ‘The Future’. Love of children is one of our altruistic endeavors, it is the least selfish love we can pursue. And it hardly needs to be repeated we want a better future for our children, our neighbor’s children, the world’s children. Bright’s poetic voice rises with confidence and courage in this moral purpose: ‘/ Let’s fight for our children, for them to know [..] / / That we rose up sacrificing everything so that they can live /’. And Bright’s closing lines amplify the moral purpose motivating his protest: ‘/ In faith and not in fear. Love and not in hate / In Freedom and Justice /’. These are wise words because they will rally support from people of good will. They summon what Abraham Lincoln called “The Better Angels of Our Disposition”. In these dark days of murderous hatred, Bright sends us back into the world with the most positive words ringing in our minds. But the beginning of this poem would satisfy fully those who can only see doom ahead and a spiral of disasters ahead. The words scattered throughout the first pages speak for themselves about our vexed present world: Suppression, Confusion, Affliction, and looming over all the other words, Terrorism. Bright relates a chilling story of almost being at the site of another attack. Such a narrow escape! This is enough to make a person both lucky and humble. He even offers some practical advice: Identify a strong leader. Vote him/her into office and support his/her politics. Enough said. At the beginning I said Bright’s poem is clever as well as wise. It is clever because it doesn’t just expose the terrorists, but disarms them. He has insistently shown how his program will accomplish the reforms they seek without the violence. The Future is Bright’s!

Dilantha Gunawardana

Chess

In this patchwork of black and white

Of modern terror – like the black smoke

And the white ambulances

Black death-dripping eyes and white first-aid boxes

Black widows and white knights

After all terrorism is a chess board

Of monochromatic dystopian funk

Where belligerence and counter-attack

Linger side-by-side, face-to-face

As loaded mules are sacrificed as pawns

In a game of antipathy and loathe

Which is unlike traditional war

After all, in war there is a last king standing

Yet in contemporary terrorism

It is the first man to cut across

To a square of quasi-martyrdom

In one last dance of gambit..

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Gunawardana’s poem, ‘Chess’, uses familiar imagery uniquely, to convey many aspects of terrorism and heighten our awareness of a ‘new’ type of warfare, where the opponents are unclear, the winners die, and black and white has nothing to do with good or bad. He likens all of the black and white images to negative icons like, ‘black smoke’, ‘white ambulances’, ‘black death dripping eyes’, and ‘white first aid boxes’. He opens the poem with a statement: ‘/ After all terrorism is a chess board / Of monochromatic dystopian funk /’. Using simile to liken chess, a traditional game of strategy, to modern terrorist warfare, points out an irony as well as a change in how wars are fought. He also alludes to the actions of suicide bombers (now both male and female) to convey this point when he writes, ‘/ As loaded mules are sacrificed as pawns / In a game of antipathy and loathe / Which is unlike traditional war /’, Gunawardana provides a large-scale view and-points out to the reader a new paradigm in war, an important issue to understand as society tries to realize how to combat terrorism and develop solutions.

Emdadul Hamid, USA

UnInHabited Reality

[see ‘Addendum’]

Birgitta Abimbola Heikka, Nigeria

Yerwa, City Ablaze

[see ‘Addendum’]

Nosheen Irfan, Pakistan

The Fatal Moment

83 dead, more than 200 injured”, TV screen flashed

He was among the injured, to the world just a number

A faceless grief, a random victim

Of murderous madness born in steel hearts

Of blind thought that believed in chaos

Wheel-chair bound for life, his right leg gone

For being at the wrong place, at the wrong time

A heavy price he and other poor souls paid

In someone’s fight for an empty cause

That was based on a twisted rationale

He hardly knew who to be sorry for

For the ones who were no more

Or for himself with scars on body and soul

People said it was a blessing he was alive

He nodded mechanically while his heart cried “no

For the world the moment would pass

Like a nightmare vanishes upon waking to sunlight

That fatal moment, sudden and short, quick as lightning

Filled with the venom of hatred and lunacy

Would just make up Statistics soon

But for him it was a cross to bear too long

It took away all, the dreams of fresh youth

The rosy smile of faith and self-assurance

Because he saw death scattered in the street

Like discarded pieces of the past.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

‘The Fatal Moment’, by Irfan, is a ‘poem of witness’, where the poetess provides the reader with the story of the terror attacks in Paris, told through the personal experience of a young man who has lost his leg and will be wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. In the opening stanza Irfan describes him: /’ He was among the injured, to the world just a number / A faceless grief, a random victim /’. Through his story, Irfan takes a potentially distant terrorist attack and makes it real by describing the situation and the experience from a personal point of view. She further writes that the injured man didn’t know who to feel more sorry for, ‘/ For the ones who were no more / Or for himself with scars on body and soul /’. The speaker then describes how such an event is but a moment that ‘will pass’ for most, but for him, he must bear that cross for the rest of his life, with the experience taking away the man’s youth forever. The final line, ‘/ Like discarded pieces of the past /’, is a simile comparing the discarded body parts on the streets of Paris to the discarded memories of terrorist acts that we as a society seem to ‘forget’ as life moves on. This powerful poem shows the destructive force of terrorism both personally and to our society, and aims to keep the world focused on these events or this moment so as to hopefully never forget and to be able to come up with solutions.

Galina Italyanskaya

Terror is a synonym of fear.

Someone needs to keep your mind in thrall,

Makes you feel: the threat is always near

Grinning on the threshold of your soul,

Slipping through the border of your country,

Bursting through the basement with a bang.

You’re not a target for the hunter.

You’re just a bullet in the gun.

Maybe not a bullet, but a trigger.

Fear is blind, the shot is just the same.

Easy to release – the bang is bigger,

And the world is breaking into flame.

They expect a judgment of the crowd,

Magic words from us: “Stand up and fight!”

Truly said, the danger is around,

Yet the fuse is actually inside.

Who is it? I wish I knew the master,

But there is no face under the hood,

Black as night and fatal as disaster,

Taking our lives for good.. for good..

Devil’s voice will never gain your ear,

If your own reason doesn’t fail.

Terror is a synonym of fear.

Don’t allow your fear to prevail!

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

Italyanskaya’s poem reminds us that the origin of the word ‘terrorism’ comes from the French ‘terrour’, which is indeed a synonym for exaggerated fear. The poet describes in vivid fast-paced language how fear can spread. She writes that fear is, ‘/ Grinning on the threshold of your soul, / Slipping through the border of your country, / Bursting through the basement with a bang /’. Then the poet writes that we are not necessarily just targets for violence, but also target for spreading fear when she says, ‘/ You’re not a target for the hunter, / You’re just a bullet in the gun; / Maybe not a bullet, but a trigger /’. She then shows how our violent reactions to fear and violence are exactly what terrorists are hoping for when she says ‘/ They expect a judgment of the crowd, / Magic words from us: “Stand up and fight!” / Truly said, the danger is around, / Yet the fuse is actually inside /’. This means that the way in which we react to terrorism, whether through fear and violence or other means, is within our control or within us.. the ‘fuse inside’. In the ending final stanzas, she reminds us that though we don’t’ always know who the authors of terrorist acts are, we do know ourselves, and we can choose not to live in fear: ‘/ If your own reason doesn’t fail / Terror is a synonym of fear. / Don’t allow your fear to prevail! /’.

Afrooz Jafarinoor, Iran

The Growth of a Word

As a child I heard

Some big, bad guys

Might get killed

By some small angry guys!

Even though I was a child,

I thought it could mislead

Some crazy little guys

To kill great big guys!

This was labeled terrour

Borrowed from French meaning horror!

As I grew up, so did the word!

As a teenager I heard it again,

But now it had become terrorism!

Now the crazy little guys

Have grown up to be world-sized

And rather than great big guys,

They are killing kids half the size

That I was then!

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

In ‘The Growth of a Word’, Jafarinoor highlights the absurdity and senselessness of terrorism through her writing style and figurative language. She explains how she perceives the concept of terrorism to have both grown and evolved over time: ‘As I grew up, so did the word!’. When she was young, her understanding of the term was characterized by ‘/ Some crazy little guys [attempting] / To kill great big guys!/’ Modern terrorism is different in that the ‘crazy little guys’ have grown up and are now killing children half the size that she was when she first heard the term ‘terrour’. Her poem is written in blank verse and has an informal tone denoted by the use of the words ‘guys’ for people and ‘kids’ for children. The effect on the reader is that we are hit by the casual irony of a once ‘young’ (anti) social phenomenon that ‘grew up’ to be a world-sized, global issue that witnesses the killing, without compunction, of small children among the many others.

Farzad Jahanbani, Iran

My Heart is in Torment

Oh, child! Why do you sleep deep beneath the waves?

Oh, how my heart is in torment

Because of the impossibility to go beyond these illusory borders.

My Heart is in torment for the continuing deaths

And for the atrocity of hearts that are only empty vessels

Through which we cannot hope that love and kindness will more flow.

Oh love, will you not heal the broken pieces of our hearts?

Oh child, keep hope alive and do not fear life.

My heart is in torment for hands that mimic the hands of the devil –

From Syria to Palestine and Iraq to Yemen,

My heart is in torment for the victims of terror –

From Beirut to Paris; from here to everywhere.

My heart is in torment across those deadly borders;

I long to free you from your tears, to place smiles on your faces,

To see the regret of mother’s hearts cease to bloom

Like the flowers of the pomegranate.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

‘My Heart is in Torment’, is the poetic lament of a mother for her dead child and others killed at the hands of terrorists. The poet uses the human heart, devoid of feeling, as a symbol for the heartlessness of terrorists and its effects on murdered victims and those who mourn them. In calling upon love to ‘heal the broken pieces of our hearts’, the poet compassionately asks for healing for both victims and the perpetrators of terrorism. The poet shows, too, that because we live in a global world where borders are merely an ‘illusion’, the whole world is affected by terrorism: ‘/ From Syria to Palestine and Iraq to Yemen / / From Beirut to Paris; from here to everywhere /’. The poem concludes with the desire ‘to free you from your tears, to place smiles on your faces’. These words repeat the idea of a need for collective healing. The final two lines of the poem contain a simile that compares the regret of a mother’s heart to pomegranate flowers which are red and evocative of bleeding hearts. Here, again, the poet reiterates the feelings of pain felt by all mothers who have suffered the loss of a child to the violence of terrorism, but the prevailing idea, as in the preceding line, is the longing for an end to the tragedy of loss.

Vincent Chizoba John, Nigeria

Blood in the Street

As we drank peacefully under the moon,

With a long cow’s horn beautifully carved,

We also dipped our hands into one plate,

With smiling faces and graceful fingers,

Picking at the pieces of fish in sweet soup.

We prayed for love and unity

Among our people under the half-white crescent,

Interceded also for our great country,

And prayed to see each other again tomorrow.

Quite suddenly, we heard the sharp sound of gunfire,

Our spirits, frightened, jumped:

They burst in, began to kill.

We did not know them,

But we knew the blood upon the ground.

The men could not pursue their possessions,

Nor the women their children.

They killed in thousands with their bombs,

Burying the innocent: babies, children,

Men, women, the young and old,

Their blood puddled as water in the street.

Just as in the days of the Nigerian civil war,

They killed our brothers and sisters,

Those very people we had prayed to see tomorrow,

Those with whom we had dined just seconds ago,

All gone, our tears, their blood, dark pools in the street.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Chizoba John’s poem describes multiple acts of terrorism he has witnessed and juxtaposes the ugliness of such acts to a typically peaceful way of life in his village. In the opening lines of the poem, he depicts beautiful scenes and describes how the people in his village live in a regular state of unity where they share food and drink and pray for each other and for their leaders. He writes: ‘/ We also dip our hands in one plate / With smiling faces and beautiful fingers / Free from guilty and blood / Picking the pieces of fish in the sweet soup / We prayed for oneness and love /’. Following this, John compares the blood and death to a Civil War, yet, he also points out that the terrorists were anonymous, they never even saw them or knew them. In the final three lines of the poem, he returns to the opening scene where villagers were sharing food and drink to say: ‘/They killed our brothers and sisters, / Those very people we had prayed to see tomorrow, / Those with whom we had dined just seconds ago, / All gone, our tears, their blood, dark pools in the street./’

Kinyua Karanja, Kenya

War on Terror

After long delicate multiple surgical operations,

A crew of doctors felt a calming wave of relief;

Like a troupe of soldiers from foreign missions,

They deeply thanked god that she was still alive.

The innocent little girl regained her conscious,

She woke up and realized she that was in hospital,

Her mind rushed back to incident of the previous

Day, when gang of terrorist attacked the capital.

It was a hard task for the nurses to explain:

Why on earth a sane man could splay bullets

To others, killing and inflicting all the pain?

On that fateful birthday party’s last minutes,

As streams of tears rolled down her cheeks.

She sadly recalled her parents and friends,

So painful that she was even unable to speak

Of the horrible deaths they all suffered.

The nurses could hid their tears no more,

They will condemn terrorism day by day;

As security forces declared a full scare war,

Like everybody else, they had a role to play.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The title of this poem is significant: the penultimate line clarifies it: ‘As security forces declared a full scale war’. I am puzzled that security forces would have the political authority to declare war. But in a sense this poem shows that a state of war already exists in the society being dramatized. But the focus of this poem is not the workings of politics; and despite the setting in a time of warfare and violence, the subject is elsewhere. This is a poem of poignancy and devotion. The poignancy is in the plight of this little girl who is bereft of parents, friends and neighbors because of the terrorist attack. But the loss goes even deeper. She is bereft of her childhood, her innocence, her natural confidence. Her physical being has been rescued by the medical staff, but her wounded mind, her lonely heart, her haunted soul will take a lifetime to recover. She has been pulled out of the springtime of her life and plunged into its winter. But my words should not overwhelm what some might well consider the miracle at the center of this poem: ‘/ A crew of doctors felt a calming wave of relief; / / They deeply thanked god that she was still alive /’. I call this a ‘poem of devotion’ because of the devoted service of the compassionate medical staff applying their skills and energies to the promotion of life, in stark contrast to the terrorists’ murderous agenda. And their devotion to life is an on-going commitment: the last line tells us they are ready to act with the same devotion to future victims of this war. This is not a poem of empty promises. Even as we celebrate this child’s salvation along with the medical staff, we are aware others were killed, and in their families an abyss of grief has opened. As people of good will, we hope that that abyss does not widen. Of all of the virtues, hope is the most accessible. Just re-read this poem by Kinyua Karanja, and let hope cleanse your spirit.

Sofia Kioroglou, Greece

Guns and Bullets

Eternal world redeemers try to save the world

with guns and bullets in people’s heads

with endless obituaries of innocent people

entombed in epitaphs of dreams and hopes.

Sugar-coated venom purported as nostrums

to cure all pain and eradicate symptoms

of an ostensibly robust epidermis

reeking of visceral, galloping putrefaction.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Guns and bullets, by Kioroglou, points out the irony and hypocrisy of terrorists who try to save humanity through violence and murder of innocents. She writes: ‘/ Eternal world redeemers try to save the world / with guns and bullets in people’s heads /’. She uses ‘ugly’ figurative language comparing terrorist strategies for saving the world with ‘/ sugar coated venom purported as nostrums /’. Nostrums are considered remedies for social problems. She ends with even darker language likening the terrorist solutions to a seemingly healthy layer of human skin that is sick underneath or ‘/ reeking of visceral, galloping putrefaction /’.

Varghese Kuncheria, India

The Earth Bleeds

O! California! O! Paris!

The earth bleeds! bleeds so brutally,

The one who has founded it upon the seas,

And established it upon the waters,

Didn’t give you the right to kill, to slaughter,

Monsters are they who shed innocent blood.

Let wisdom prevail and take courage,

All who mourn sojourn and uproot,

This evil menace that has taken root,

In our planet so serene, so tranquil,

Protect the environment we say,

Protect your people I say.

None has the right to snatch your right,

Your birth right to a peaceful existence,

This planet is for those who pursue,

Peace, harmony and human dignity,

Not for those who destroy its existence,

They have no right to exist but to exit.

I salute the brave who dare to fight,

Who lay their lives down in the fright,

Fight all forms of evil and terror,

That takes our legitimate right to live,

In peace, in liberty and in harmony.

Down with terror! let peace prevail!

*

Commentary by Valsa George Nedumthallil:

The poet here laments the loss of peace and violence. Our streets are now drenched in human blood and we witness a horrible human hunt in many parts of the world like Paris and California. He strongly feels that terrorism should be uprooted from the Earth. There are those in whom wisdom prevails and they should take the initiative. He draws a contrast between an old world that has been once so serene and peaceful and a new world where violence and war are so rife. He longs to go back to a time of peace and harmony and wishes to see human dignity restored. Towards the end of the poem, he salutes the war heroes who lay down their lives to safeguard the freedom of the land. He also asserts that each individual has a right to live in peace and safety!

Kelly Kurt, USA

Unwritten Remedy (Poets for Peace)

Politics and justice are not even a consideration

Wanton acts of unrestrained violence are focused

Radical faiths in seventh century propaganda

Instilled and inflamed as infants

Little prospect for alternatives

Born into belief, raised in collective influence

No more hate should be borne them

Then should be felt for the tsetse

Which does as it was nurtured to do

Literature ought to enhance life

Its truth and beauty should inspire harmony

Text must encourage goodwill

Ignorance overcome by information

Legend understood as such

No book as tenet

No demand for terrorism

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Kurt writes a poem that highlights the role of religion (over politics and justice), in fueling acts of terrorism. He emphasizes the point that we as a society should not focus on individual terrorists, but rather the roots upon which the foundation of terror exists. He writes that ‘/ No more hate should be borne them [terrorists] / Then should be felt for the tsetse / Which does at is was nurtured to do /’. The tsetse is an African bloodsucking fly that can spread sleeping sickness. Essentially, he points out that individuals were raised not to think for themselves, but only in the context of a very old religious text. In the second half of the poem, he stresses that the overall role of literature (in contrast to an implied Bible or Quran) should be to ‘enhance life’ and ‘inspire harmony’. Finally, he stresses the importance of reason over faith. ‘Ignorance [is] overcome by information’. If humans can live by reason and information, there is then ‘no book as tenet’, and hence, ‘no demand for terrorism’. Like John Lennon’s famous song, ‘Imagine’, Kurt’s poem also logically shows how ‘no religion’ can be the answer to eliminating terrorism.

Lionel Lerch, aka Cocteau Mot Lotov, France

Struggle for Death

Where are you my enemy?

Who are you? Why me

the nice people from ads?

I’m so cool, you’re so cruel

This time it’s not about fuel

Then about what?

The west is the beast

The east and the rest

Under the global warning

I need a rest

Where are you, son of a blitz?

Stop hiding yourself in every wear

Now I know your plan

No surprise anymore

You have to find something else

Ever heard about nonviolence stance?

Ever thought of «lonesome suicide attack»?

In the desert, for instance

I don’t have the license to kill

Should I beg God for it?

Just the freedom to live

between my State and your hate

My enemy

I won’t be at your next date.

*

[French version]

Lutte pour la mort

Où es-tu mon ennemi?

Qui es-tu? Pourquoi moi

l’homme souriant de la pub?

Je suis si cool, toi si cruel

Cette fois, ce n’est pas pour l’essence

Alors c’est pour quoi?

L’ouest est la bête

L’est et le reste

Sous l’alarme du réchauffement

j’ai besoin d’une sieste

Où es-tu, fils de putsch?

Arrête de te cacher dans tous les vêtements du monde

Maintenant je connais ton plan

Plus de surprise

Tu vas devoir trouver autre chose

Jamais entendu parler de la stratégie de la non-violence?

Jamais pensé à «l’attaque suicide solitaire»?

Dans le désert, par exemple

Je n’ai pas le permis de tuer

Dois-je le demander à dieu?

Juste la liberté de vivre

entre mon Etat et ta haine

Mon ennemi

je ne serai pas à ton prochain rendez-vous.

(Lionel Lerch, aka Cocteau Mot Lotov)

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

The poem, ‘Struggle for Death’, written by slam poet, Lionel Lerch, is meant to be performed or spoken. The writing is designed for that purpose and so there are short lines with selective rhyming for emphasis of important points. The theme of his poem is resistance against the efforts of terrorists and disdain for the terrorists themselves. In his clipped American style of language, he opens with ‘I’m so cool, you’re so cruel’, emphasizing the differences between us. He writes, ‘this time it’s not about fuel?’ as a way of discussing the reasons for terrorist attacks, as in the past there were issues over oil and also hijacked airplanes. The word ‘fuel’ could be interpreted in multiple ways. He then writes about possible rationale the terrorists have in their heads for attacking Paris, and then end the stanza with, ‘/ Under their Global Warning / I need a rest /’. This phrase is also a play on words, referencing global warming, another concerning world issue. The second stanza is an angry one, where Lerch almost taunts the terrorists. He writes, ‘/ Where are you, son of a blitz?/’, and then proceeds to explain to the terrorists that they are no longer hidden and they will be found. ‘Blitz’, another play on words, is suggestive of American profanity, but also refers to their style of attack, and also alludes to the possibility that western ‘blitz’ wars could have contributed to the growth of terrorism. He ends the stanza with an ironic poke at the terrorists as he says, ‘/ Ever heard about nonviolence stance? / Ever thought of «lonesome suicide attack»? / In the desert, for instance?/’ The final stanza transitions from a direct confrontation to a more world view of the situation, where Lerch affirms his endorsement of freedom, love for France, and condemns murder. He defiantly states his disdain for the alienation created both through state politics and terrorism, in his final lines: ‘/ between my State and your hate / My enemy / I won’t be at your next date /’.

Birgit Bunzel Linder, Germany

On the Train

The train glides past autumn fields and withering gardens.

It crosses rivers and highways, designs for human purpose.

It rides past local graveyards, where row after row,

lives rest under engraved marble stones.

‘Why think of sadness when it adds nothing to life’s span?’

some mystic whispers when I close my eyes.

But the rapid rumbling of the rails suddenly becomes

far away wars that advance toward me fast.

The soft swaying of the wagon becomes

the slow sinking of refugee ships.

When the train slows and a nearby car tire blows,

panic strikes in the eyes that are weary from the news.

Terror multiplies to the beat. History repeats itself.

Like a thief it comes, stealing borderline ideologies.

You turned to talebearers of delusion, who said to you,

“Wear belts that are engraved Return to Sender!”

“Go fall in a land of disbelief.”

I don’t know where to find the field that lies out beyond

ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing anymore.*

But I know that nobody should rest in peace before their time.

___________

Author’s note:

  • Rumi

This poem is about physical and psychological terror that comes to us through various forms of disbelief, be they religious, political or ethical.

*

[German version]

Im Zug

Der Zug gleitet an Herbstfeldern und welkenden Gärten vorbei,

über Flüsse und Straβen, Designs menschlicher Absicht.

Er fährt an Friedhöfen vorbei, wo Reihe hinter Reihe

Leben ruhen unter gravierten Marmortafeln.

“Warum traurig sein, wenn es unser Leben nicht verlängert?”

flüstert ein Mystiker, als ich meine Augen schließe.

Doch das schnelle Rattern der Räder wird plötzlich

zu fernen Kriegen, die hastig auf mich zueilen.

Das weiche Wiegen des Wagons wird

zum langsamen Sinken von Flüchtlingsschiffen.

Als der Zug hält und in der Nähe ein Autoreifen platzt,

Zeigt sich Panik in den Augen, die von den Nachrichten ermüdet sind.

Der Terror multipliziert sich, Schlag um Schlag. Die Geschichte wiederholt sich.

Wie ein Dieb kommt sie, stiehlt Grenzenideologien.

Du hast dich an Schwätzer des Wahnsinns gewandt, die zu dir sagten:

“Trage Gürtel eingraviert mit dem Wort Retour!”

“Falle in Ländern der Unglaublichkeit!”

Ich weiß nicht mehr, wie wir das Feld finden können,

das jenseits von Richtig und Falsch liegt.

Aber ich weiß, daβ niemand vorzeitig in Frieden ruhen soll.

(Birgit Bunzel Linder)

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Before commenting on her poem and its impact, I want to comment on this poet’s unique approach to our subject, ‘Poetry Against Terrorism’. The last lines of her poem affirm the value of individual lives which the terrorists disdain. However, Birgit Linder does not address the terrorists directly, dies not refer to details of the Paris massacre, and does not rely on news accounts and eyewitness accounts. She has used her creative imagination to create an entirely personal context in which to assess our subject. The setting of a moving train is provocative. It suggests parallel realities, one inside the train, the other outside, and additionally, parallel realities for the poet, one as a train passenger, the other as a thinker. The poet does not identify the country the train is speeding across because it could be any country, every country, your country. The movement of the train is steady, the destination is what matters, but inside the train is a kind of stasis and what matters is the interior journey that this stasis makes possible. Probably the key statement in Linder’s poem is expressed in the closing line just after an introductory quotation from Rumi: ‘But I know that nobody should rest in peace before their time’. There are several assumptions embodied in this statement that constitute the poet’s thoughts. For example, that death can be conceived of as peace, that some part of us still experiences it as a rest, that there is a time frame in which we are meant to enter this restful peace, and not before. I remember many years ago in an editorial on the anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, the writer said, “We, all of us, live in Hiroshima”. In a similar way, all of us live and thrive in the gun sights of the terrorists. That is why every turn and sound of the train’s machinery reminds Linder of a terrorist attack. The train trip does not come to the end, any more than terrorism will. Such momentous events become the filter through which we assess our national will, our individual lives, and our moral quality. Birgit Linder’s poem fulfills that challenge of poetry.

Tapera Makadho, Zimbabwe

From Paris with Love

They built them

Barbed wire beds to sleep on

And raised stone – pillar pillows,

They cuddled and kissed in the meadows

Licking the gore sweetened lips of Paris.

But in the battle of wills

I bury my fury with a poem,

Moulded from the silent tears

Of those who withheld their fears

And speak against terror.

I beseech the age of the mutants –

Mutations of war by belligerent militants,

Like two oxen on the same yoke

Locking horns, albeit a stroke

Would that make the wagon lighter?

Terrorists are saboteurs of wars

They imply to be freedom fighters,

Simply bequeathing orders of their masters

They are Knights of the dark world

They have no ‘locus standi’.

___________

Author’s note:

“Locus standi”: Latin for a “place to stand”, a “right to be heard”.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Echoing the film, ‘From Russia with Love’, Makadho, expresses empathy for the people of Paris and all others affected by terrorism, in his poem. In four brief stanzas, packed with figurative language, ranging from barbed wire and stone pillars of sacrifice, to oxen and knights, he describes the problematic nature of terrorism, expresses his personal disdain for it, and then sends a special message to all who abhor terrorism. In the first stanza, he likens suicide attackers to objects of pagan sacrifice: terrorists are created by their leaders, ‘/ They built them / Barbed wire beds to sleep on / And raised stone – pillar pillows../’. In the second stanza, he expresses his anger about the situation and expresses his grief with Paris and all who silently abhor terrorist actions when he writes, ‘/ But in the battle of wills, I bury my fury with a poem /’. In the third stanza, the poet takes a world view of the problem, characterizing our time as an ‘age of the mutants’, which alludes to a changing global climate, changes in our methods of warfare, and a changing political climate. Via simile, he likens the changes and struggle to oxen: ‘/ Like two oxen on the same yoke / Locking horns, albeit a stroke /’. In the final stanza, he pulls the poem together in a closing condemnation of terrorists, proclaiming them to be ‘dark knights’ with no reasonable cause for their actions and no place in our world, no ‘locus standi’, as he puts it.

Kenneth Maswabi, Botswana

Terror in the minds of men

The cancerous tumor is malignant

Wrapping around innocent minds

With roots buried in false beliefs

Terror has found a home in the psyche of men

Whatever name you choose to call it

Whatever form it manifest in your mind

Terror is a terrible defeat of the human spirit

Terror reaches beyond the human soul

Terror is an act against creation

Against all odds

Mankind will emerge from your deeds

Mankind will be strengthened by your brutal acts

Mankind will rise together

Together as one they’ll rise

The last bastion of the human spirit awakened

Terror is an enemy of all

Terror has no place in the book of life

Terror deserves all religious damnations

No religious institution should nourish terror

Nor feed the hungry forces of darkness

Mankind deserves better

Creation deserves better

Religious beliefs deserves better

Planet Earth deserves better

The world deserves better

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Terror, in Kenneth Maswabi’s poem, is a two-edged sword. One edge refers to those acts of violence against innocent victims; the other edge is the abject fear felt by those attacked or those who fear attack. The title of the poem identifies this second meaning of the word, because the mind will obsess over memories of past attacks and a prospective new one, thereby creating a permanent condition of fear in an individual. For the terrorists themselves, they will use their minds to invent moral justifications for their attacks and continually identify new populations deemed their enemies. In the subsequent stanzas, the poem focuses fully on the plight of helpless victims. The third stanza is the center of the poem, and the poet declares the eventual success of the world of decent people in overcoming such terror tactics. He writes confidently, ‘/ Against all odds, / Mankind will emerge /’, and this victory will occur because ‘Mankind will rise together’. So the overwhelming impression this African poet conveys is optimism in the victory of people of good will.

Denzel Mbatha, South Africa

With wounded lips the society

extends a long kiss goodbye to

the plague that’s crippling the

love within

Breaking the cycle of stagnancy,

prolific poets coalesce in a bid to

terrorize terror itself and hand it

a long smooch goodbye for the love

brought forth by the effects of the

deadly pandemic brought new

concepts to society

‘United, terror can be terrorized’.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Denzel Mbatha takes a very different approach in dealing with the terrorists. Despite their prominence on the world stage and the huge impact of their violence, Mbatha sees through all this pretense, apocalyptic rhetoric, bravado, and sees them for what they are, bullies, certainly nothing but bullies with big guns and bravado. So instead of taking them seriously, Denzel reduces the story to farce and laughs at them. I remembered a long ago event, while reading this poem. Way back in 1968, during a protest march against the war in Vietnam, protesters played a practical joke on the Pentagon. They claimed they would circle the building holding hands and at a signal from their leader make the huge building levitate. The military’s response was to ring the building with troops holding fixed bayonets. A famous photo shows a girl carefully putting a flower into the barrel of a rifle just below the bayonet. And all that military might seemed to vanish in humor and fun. That incident returned to me when I read in Mbatha’s poem: ‘/ prolific poets coalesce in a bid to / terrorize terror itself and hand it / a long smooch goodbye for love /’. Mbatha’s kiss is analogous to that girl’s flower in 1968. It is important to see both incidents in the spirit intended. They are meant to mock those who use threatening power, to use humor to poke fun at the show of force and affirm the arts of peace. In other words, don’t take such responses seriously as a program against violence. At best, such an approach gives people of good will a breathing space in the midst of their fears. Mbatha’s poem puts smile on our faces which otherwise look quite grim because of terrorism.

Mallika Menon, India

A Cry for Peace

Let peace be widespread in this world

by eradicating all violence first.

How can we forget that doomsday in Paris

when vandalism took over tranquility there!

Some brutish people wrought havoc

That led to bloodshed of innocents.

Well planned attacks orchestrated

By minds of filthy wills and traits.

Mass shooting and bombing just

Cause fear and terror abundantly.

A river of blood flowed with the Seine

As hate has no limits or bars.

Cries of agony broke each mind

Where death and loss took its toll.

What did they gain through the loss of many?

I wonder, while I suppress my own sobs.

A proverb says, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap!’

So their dues will be paid one day to God

As all debts are bound to be repaid.

Let us join our hands and minds

Not in discord, but in unison to

Wipeout terrorist actions and

Vengeful retaliations too.

The slogan, ‘Unity in diversity’,

We should preach and practice perfectly!

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

The poem, ‘A Cry for Peace’, expresses strong emotions and a call for widespread peace through the eradication of all violence, a joining of hands, and a reminder to ‘/ preach and practice perfectly /’. The poetess, Menon, introduces spiritual layers of interpretation to the poem by referencing Romans 12:19, which emphasizes that God will avenge evil actions. This poem provides a deeply humanistic message of peace, expressed in a Gandhian key, in a simple, clear style and elegiac tones. The final lines of the poem remind us to find ‘/ Unity in diversity /’, and to remember to not only condemn terrorism, but to live in peace or ‘/ preach and practice perfectly /’.

Leloudia Migdali, Greece

Cries of pain, bodies scattered

Blood runs cold, eyes hurt to see

Innocent people running away shattered

A nightmare no one could foresee

Terror around creeping in their veins

Terrorism nameless, terrorism with a name

Mission to find potential targets remains

Blocked minds thirsty for fame

“Sorry, in the name of my beliefs I will kill you thrice,

This is my fallacy”

Young hearts instilled with vice

Black moon for mankind and decency

Who is to blame? Who is not?

For living in uncertainty and fear

Can needless carnage lead to ought

But a world with no atmosphere?

Will we resist to the situation?

Fight for peace upstanding this new plague?

All humanity convict insanity and depression

No matter religion, color, political blame?

Or will all see enemies everywhere,

Pushing this already fragile world into an endless shame

For Future generations so unfair?

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

This poem begins in the chaotic midst of the terrorist attack itself, with the shooting, the killing, the fear, the flight. The urgency of the description spills over into the reflective second half of the poem, which poses a barrage of questions to be answered, which we would ignore to our peril. Several of the questions answer themselves. For example, ‘/ Who is to blame? Who is not? /’. This double question suggests a larger frame of reference than just the events of November 13, 2015. She is not, I am certain, blaming the victims. But she is alerting us to the fact that these murderous events occurred in a world for which we are, all of us, responsible. What she fears is more violence, guns and hatreds running amok, and the next time she is forced by events to write such a poem, there will just be a maelstrom of violence, engulfing everyone, victims and terrorists alike. Her closing question is an urgent plea to somehow stop this downward spiral: ‘/ Will all see enemies everywhere, / Pushing this already fragile world into an endless shame / For future generations so unfair?/’

Asoke Kumar Mitra, India

The Heartbreak that is Terrorism

The heartbreak that is terrorism wakes alone in the night

And takes a double-edged knife and an AK47

To a bus stop, a hotel lobby, a football field, an opera house,

And the entrance to a kindergarten..

All around, cries are heard for the innocent lives lost,

For the deadly mission, the grim suicide,

The dark clouds that fill our skies

For the threat to life, we tremble..

The genesis of our love, our dreams our hope is shattered by

The heartbreak that is terrorism,

Charging forward and contaminating the world like a demon

With sickness and disease..

Would that terrorism could, like a sand castle,

Be built on some distant and restorative sea shore

That by waves of peace, it might be demolished

The sadness conquered, the fear conquered..

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Mitra’s poem, ‘The Heartbreak that is Terrorism’, is an emotional response to acts of terrorism around the world. The poet opens the poem describing different places that terrorism might occur from a bus stop to the entrance to a kindergarten. The poet describes terrorism as ‘/ Charging forward and contaminating the world like a demon / With sickness and disease../’. The final lines of the poem highlight the fact that only peace can demolish terrorism and so conquer the sadness and fear that it creates.

Zoran Mitrović (Neran Sati), Croatia

Prime Lines

Dad where am I? Why this room’s all in white?

Be calm my son, you’re driven here after blast –now all’s right

As soon as you’re well, we’ll go home.. and play on ground

Where’s mom? She’s been there with me.. when hit down town

She’ll.. be late my son.. For now, it’s just you and me stickin’ aroun’

Then.. show me this book –I can’t see well.. what’s on page one?

Oh.. they’re stars and sun.. to keep people bright and warm

And animals and plants.. giving food ‘n drinks, like our farm

Dad, are TV and lap’s screen good or do harm?

Well, it’s like zoo –some beast nasty, others cute ‘n calm..

I’ll teach thee which is which

Like that evil monster.. blowin’ o’er us, crushin’ my arm?

Yeah, so you’d figure evil look before and keep out

Haven’t we got enough tanks and guns to keep’em down?

Sure we’ve got –but they sneak and hide behind their mask

–thereafter quickly run

Don’t they’ve got kids to play.. and for them care?

Some do, but choose instead bombs –to hurt and scare.. Didn’t learn

Love and good and peace ‘re even dear for all, God’s caring for

Dad, these misses here so kind, like angels –always smile.. Thought

Awhile I got to heaven.. Indeed, they’re my son.. but, we’ll soon go

Home, isn’t far.. our land

Look at window! Moon seem just like sun, only isn’t.. warm. Dad,

What’s future like? Good or bad? That –we can’t tell, but we

Try fixin’ well.. Once you grew up, my son –you’ll make it sound

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

After the flood crashes through the landscape, uprooting trees, crushing buildings, spreading havoc, the waters gradually recede and leave behind an eerie silence in which survivors pick up the broken pieces and try to find the strength within to move on, because they must – the future depends upon them. That parallel natural disaster took over my mind as I read this quietly eloquent conversation between a father and son confronting the same confusion, uncertainty and hope, after a terrorist attack shattered their world, requiring them to pick up the broken pieces. The focus of this poem stays very close to the concerns of two ordinary men, not leaders in society, not rich men, not men educated and conversant with the fine details of geopolitics. They are the workers, the farmers who tend the land and make it productive, the small business owners who provide goods and services to their neighbors. They are, in a familiar idiom – salt of the earth. And the terrorists who attacked them came from a world whose people can be described in the same way. Who can read this poem and not be moved by the bond between father and son? And the son’s concern for his mother’s well-being? And the father’s patience in comforting his wounded son, and both of them, uncertain of what’s to come but already summoning the required strength to move on? And their appreciation of the kindness of the medical staff? Their joy in children, which is the origin of their hope? Salt of the Earth. They will prevail!

Istvan Molnar

No Mercy

Imagine, with the world so lost

I will not be merciful to killers

I replace all their souls as ghosts

When the future rulers come

I will collapse the terror among the shining stars

It will be the basement of the intellect

The bright cradle in the sky is far

Green sunshine cools our hearts

Terror — man’s life is worth nothing

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Molnar’s terse poem, ‘No Mercy’, is a complex assessment of the nature of man in light of terrorism. He engages the reader by opening his poem with the word, ‘Imagine’, and then implores us to see the world as ‘lost’ from terrorism. He says, ‘/ I will not be merciful to killers / I replace all their souls as ghosts /’, which suggests that terrorists are not worthy of redemption and should not be allowed to ascend from the earth. In the second stanza, he states when future rulers come, that terror will be collapsed ‘among the shining stars’ and will become ‘the basement of the intellect’. These ideas highlight the need for logic and high level intellect over violence in solving world problems in a future without terrorism. Finally, in the third stanza, Molnar ends with more figurative and unsettling language when he says, ‘/ The bright cradle in the sky is far / Green sunshine cools our hearts / Terror – Man’s life is worth nothing /’. These words suggest that solutions to terrorism (in the sky where our hearts can be cooled) are far off and that evil-minded people continue to use terrorism to destroy innocent.

Souren Mondal, India

Red Ashes of War

Young Nafisa,

all of seven,

sat against a blew up tank

and wished her younger brother Rahim

had been as lucky as her — She after all

Had her right leg intact and

a stick for clutches.

Martha was graduating from High School

She wished her Peter was there — He

died in Iraq

BUY THE OLD MAN LUNCH PLEASE

HOMELESS PAUL” — He sat with a

pitch-board sign

He was an Afghan veteran without an eye and with

PTSD

A guy named Ahmed gave him a dollar

and said “May Allah bless you

What a piece of work is war?

A bunch of lunatics kill innocents

and another bunch of lunatics kill more innocents

to avenge the death of innocents

And all we are left with in the end

is the rotten red ashes of humanity drowned in the

Wind.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Mondal’s poem paints a dark portrait of the many victims of terrorism and war from around the world that have suffered from the inability of humans to solve problems without violence. His style of writing ‘throws’ the reader in the midst of these victims’ daily lives to bring a ‘face’ to those who have lost limbs, family members, their minds, and their homes due to terrorism and violence. His lines, ‘/ What a piece of work is war? / A bunch of lunatics kill innocents / and another bunch of lunatics kill more innocents / to avenge the death of innocents /’, again sums up the absurdity of war and terrorism. His symbolism and the final words ‘rotten red ashes of humanity’ highlight the destruction and death that the world is left with in the aftermath of terrorism.

Anitah Muwanguzi, Uganda

My Life for Hers

My frenzied blood waxed molten to ice,

heart melted to stone.

Fear was forgotten,

as her screams stirred the heavens–

and gouged self-preservation free of me.

I leapt to her aid,

and took the bullet to heart,

the roaring and pounding in my ears receding farther and farther,

till I found myself in a different place

looking down at my glowing tear-kissed face.

I sighed content,

because she cradled me at her breast-bone

Erasing the desert of her desertion

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The visionary poet Georg Trakl once said to a startled friend, “How can you speak of the moment of death when it is the threshold of Eternity?”. How indeed? But in a mysterious way, the answer is attainable through poetry. Anita Muwanfguzi has taken us across that threshold into the realm of Eternity, and her words are beautifully consoling and resonant. The poem is only thirteen lines long, but its impact lasts long after we finish reading it. This poem reaches the soul of the reader and takes up residence there. The incident the poem relates occurs outside of chronological time: there is no clock that can measure its time frame. What did occur was the split second decision of the speaker to sacrifice himself so that another could live. That incident in which thought and action happened simultaneously occurred before the poem begins. The poet gives her character uncanny speech to describe the experience of dying, and also the awareness that his sacrifice has succeeded. This was an act of martyrdom, and to perform it two things had to happen inside the man’s soul. In the words of the poem, ‘fear was forgotten’, and ‘her screams [..] gouged self-preservation free of me’. We know that fear of dying and self-preservation are two of the most powerful emotions in our nature, but this man overcame both to give life to the woman. At the end of her poem, Anitah Muwanguzi gives her character an expression of transcendent fulfillment: ‘I sighed content, / because she cradled me at her breast-bone’. I have recently read about two survivors of separate terrorist attacks who claimed a martyr like this character saved their lives through sacrifice. We know that terrorism is a brutal fact of our social order, but we also know that the willing sacrifice of one for another is a blessed fact of the same time and place. This poem celebrates such sacrifice. We are left in a state of grace after reading it.

Bharati Nayak, India

Mourning the Death of Innocent Flowers

Take not the name of any religion

As God would never pardon spilling of innocent blood

You are game to treacherous designs of wicked minds

Who are bent upon destroying human kind

They have their own selfish end

And use you as puppets.

When you should have played with ball

They put bomb in your hands

When you should have played violin

They gave the gun to fire.

See, how flowers have died

In your heart and in the garden

The demon darkens

the sky choking light to death

Music falls silent

Every rhythm joyful, dies

Devil dances in the heart of those

Who chose

Hell over heaven

I pray for the innocent flowers

That have died

In you and in the garden.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

There are two groups of players in the drama of this poem: The young martyrs who actually pull the trigger and murder innocent people; and their older recruiters whose ‘treacherous designs’ manipulate the young men ‘as puppets’. The young men should be engaged in play and education, but instead they are the first victims of those ‘bent upon destroying human kind’. They choose ‘hell over heaven’, their growth as human beings is stunted and ‘the devil dances’ in their hearts. Thus, their innocence is destroyed first, and then their lives in the violence they unleash in the terrorist attack. But the recruiters who gave them the bombs and guns survive to repeat this terrible drama with another group of young martyrs. In the closing lines of the poem, the poet generously prays for both the deluded young men as well as their victims In doing so, the poet has given us a shining example of choosing heaven over hell.

Valsa George Nedumthallil, India

Down with Terrorism

‘Washiqur Rahman of Bengla Desh on his way to his office

was hacked to death by two Madrassa boys.

Neither did they know Rahman nor each other.

Their teacher told, Rahman was anti Islamic

and it was their duty to end him’

What a pity..!

Violence n’ ignorance masquerading as love for God!

All through the world, seismic waves of terror

Sweep across.. effacing life, love and dreams

Sky scrapers raced to the ground

Leaving searing gashes in men’s psyche

Pale faced grimaces of death as bombs explode

Groans of pain as bullets whizz past

Moving ‘corpses’ with bloodied bodies and bruised minds

Exodus of men who flee for life as terror strikes

Trudging through the valley of despair

They look for mercies to descend

Raw flesh and warm gore excite

The ones who exult in irrational homicide

Where shall we find a bastion

From this rabid pack of wolves?

From the quagmire of terror, we need an escape

We look for peace, we thirst for love.

We seek a haven where Christians and Muslims

The Blacks and the Whites, Aryans and Jews

Hold hands together and proclaim aloud

“We are one, we are a single clan”

Let it be writ on every wall and billboard

‘Down with War, Down with Terrorism’

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The title of Valsa George’s poem, ‘Down with Terrorism’, dovetails with its closing line, ‘Down with War, Down with Terrorism’. That anthem of ‘Down with’ has echoed across the centuries as people of all kinds – aliens, outcasts, oppressed minorities, prisoners of conscience, migrants, patriots – have decried the forces that limit their freedom, deny their rights, slaughter their bodies. But their spirits which resist and cry for justice will not be silenced. Thus, Valsa’s poem is framed by an overview of history which includes both the worst aspects of our human heritage and its finest. ‘/ Where shall we find a bastion / From this rabid pack of wolves? /’. She follows her question not with a blueprint for resistance but a vision of the only lasting solution to global plight: a global community of Earth’s people proclaiming: ‘We are one, we are a single clan’. Instead of building a defensive bastion and engaging the Wolves of humanity in an internecine war, we smother those wayward humans with love and peace. It is reminiscent of W.H. Auden’s great Poem of Witness, ‘September 1, 1939’, which culminates in the line, ‘We must love one another or die’. Literary critics, ever on the alert to debunk any display of foolish idealism, castigated Auden for that line, and eventually he removed it from the poem. From an intellectual standpoint the critics and the later Auden are probably right. But will our global plight be solved by intellectual arguments and appeals? Of the five stanzas that make up her poem, four deal with the violence and mayhem that threaten us. This must be extremely distressing to Valsa, who describes her poetic vision as one of “a peaceful world” of “amity and peaceful co-existence”. The most devastating line for a poet of her sensibility to write is surely: ‘/ All through the world, seismic waves of terror / Sweep across, effacing life, love and dreams /’. And in the fourth stanza her imagery seems to evoke the plight of refugees, who despairingly ‘look for mercies to descend’. In the closing stanza, Valsa is no longer thinking in terms of a bastion to protect us, while mayhem continues to engulf us. Rather she envisions ‘a haven’ where opposite attract each other, where union on a global scale might be finally realized, a vision reminiscent of the Garden that was meant to be our earthly home, lost in our primeval genesis, but perhaps a distant prospect of salvation. Do not those of us who cherish Nature, Love and Human Relations deserve such a blessed future?

Srijana KC Neupane, Nepal

We Humans?

We are caste, colour, creed

We are minority, majority

We are states and borders

We are rich, we are poor

We are puppets.

Brainwashed, we can cut throat

bomb, burn and inhume alive

our own species

old, young and infants alike.

The soul that sparks through

the eyes of the fellow being

at their last breath do not

arouse our own or drive

us to submit to the shrive

as if immortals ever survive!

We can talk endless on humanity

inhumanly.

We humans?

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Srijana’s poem highlights the inhuman nature of terrorism. The opening stanza declares the unity of human kind, ‘/ We are caste, colour, creed / / We are rich, we are poor /’. But the second stanza shows how our unity can break down under evil influences when humans can become brainwashed and be manipulated like puppets to commit murder. The poet wisely and a bit hopelessly laments our human weaknesses in this context when she describes how the soul of a being dying from terrorism shows itself through their eyes ‘at their last breath’, yet this pure experience still fails to ‘arouse our own [soul]’ to ‘submit to the shrive’ or seek penance for evil acts. She then reinforces her argument against the violence of terrorism and subtly refers to the idea of suicide terrorists killing so they can reach paradise, when she exclaims, ‘as if immortals ever survive!’. Finally, she reminds the reader of the absurdity of terrorism as a strategy for winning a war when she says, ‘/ We can talk endlessly on humanity / Inhumanly. / We humans?’. Her ending is quite strong and a wonderful play on the word ‘human’.

Eunice Barbara C. Novio, Philippines

The Crescent Moon

The crescent moon hides

behind the clouds

As she hears the wails,

Of those who suffer,

And perish one night

As she was about to

Appear on the night sky.

She hides her face

behind the dark clouds

As she weeps

She had seen

And forever embeds

In her memories

the bloody grounds.

Like those hundred years

of carnages she witnessed

between the people

who carried her image

and those who carried

the Cross.

The crescent moon

cannot wait for the time

that her full beauty

circle, golden

be shown again to

illumine the dark sky

and the darker side of

humanity.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

Before commenting on the particular content of this poem, I want to say something about Eunice’s craft of writing which is germane to both our purpose and approach. This poem is composed with utmost sensitivity. In the midst of the loud presence of both terrorism and protest, this poem dares to be quiet and speak in a soft voice. And what is spoken is the truth, restrained, complete, calm. What respect Eunice shows to the victims in her homage, and she extends the same respect to the people of Islamic societies in her cautionary tale. This is the poetic voice we want to hear; it is the poetic voice we need to hear. The Crescent Moon is the traditional symbol of Islamic societies. To this symbolism Eunice adds personification. The personified Crescent Moon learns of the terrible events of November 13, and immediately ascends into the sky and hides behind a bank of clouds. Although she is not responsible for the deed, she still feels shame and grief, shame for the loss of innocent life in a paroxysm of hate and grief over the spilling of innocent blood. History cannot be denied, and she remembers conflicts in the past. But she places her hopes in the truth that will shine forth in time when her crescent becomes the full moon. Eunice does not spell out the details of this truth. Rather she affirms that just as the light will ‘illumine the dark sky’ so the truth will illumine the ‘darker side of humanity’. Her poem closes with this image of the Moon’s ‘full beauty circle’.

Fatima Obaid, Pakistan

Terrorism

My eyes see the reflection of broken pieces of glass

I see the broken dreams of innocent hearts

Terror surges like a flood

Blue skies turn as to red blood

Love and happiness fade from view

The hope of justice fades now too

Our cries, tears even smiles are not enough

To restore them, they’re now stained with blood

Each heart is filled with fear

Each eye is filled with tears

No one can deflect the pain of suffering

All are equal, no one feels nothing

Yet, many voices go still unheard

Those raised for freedom and justice blurred

By the sound of bullets in the air

That drown out loss, fear and despair

Islam says:

‘Murder of an innocent person

Is the same as killing all mankind’

The Islamic faith provides no licence

For Muslims to terrorize or use violence

Terrorism speaks not for Allah, truly said

Terrorists are ruthless, selfish, misled.

*

Commentary by Valsa George Nedumthallil:

Looking at the scene of violence, the poetess like the victims of war feels shattered. She sees every shard of broken glass as a symbol of shattered hearts and broken dreams. All she sees around are bloodstains and all she hears is the sound of flying bullets. Like the receding tides, love and happiness are fast fading out. It will take time for the wounds to heal and the world to recover from the memory of this nightmarish experience. At the end, she points her fingers resolutely at the Islamist terrorists: She vehemently says that Islam is against the killing of innocents and Allah can never be pleased with bloodshed!

Marcondes Pereira, Brazil

Stanzas of Sadness (A Sonnet)

When you destroy countless other lives

In the name of your view of a better world and society..

You cut dreams, futures and hopes with your bloody knives

And we suffer from today until the rest of eternity.

Our beloved children fear tomorrow..

Cause you kill our histories and our beliefs, due to your violence

We see in the song of your march, pain and deep sorrow.

What kind of ideology is moved by rage and intolerance?

We cannot see a brighter future or better days..

While you follow the road of death and brutality,

We all could live and love ourselves in other ways.

God isn’t hungry for revenge and he isn’t a furious entity

“Don’t cut your blood link, with senseless wars” He says.

Bombs and guns and missiles only kill the beauty of human reality.

*

[Portuguese version]

Estrofes Da Tristeza (Soneto)

Quando vocês destroem incontáveis outras vidas

Pelo nome de sua visão de um mundo e sociedade melhores

Vocês cortam sonhos, futuros e esperanças com suas facas sangrentas

E nós sofremos de hoje até o resto da eternidade.

Nossas amadas crianças temem o amanhã…

Pois vocês matam nossas histórias e crenças, graças a sua violência

Nós vemos na canção de sua marcha, dor e mágoa profundas.

Que tipo de ideologia é movida por raiva e intolerância.

Nós não podemos ver um futuro mais brilhante ou dias melhores

Enquanto vocês seguem a estrada da morte e da brutalidade

Todos nos podíamos viver e nos amarmos de outras formas

Deus não está faminto por vingança e ele não é uma entidade furiosa

“Não cortem o seu elo de sangue, com guerras sem sentido”. Ele diz

Bombas e armas e mísseis apenas matam a beleza da realidade humana.

(Marcondes Pereira)

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

This poem by Pereira points out two major points: that terrorism isn’t compatible with love for God and that it destroys the future of our children and future generations. After highlighting these points along with the fear terrorism incites in our daily lives, he states, ‘/ What kind of ideology is moved by rage and intolerance? / We cannot see a brighter future or better days.. / While you follow the road of death and brutality /’. The poet also points out an option that ‘/ We all could live and love ourselves in other ways /’ and that terrorists only, ‘/ kill the beauty of human reality /’. In essence, his poem presents the sadness of our world and of humanity in the face of acts of terrorism.

Sajee Rayaroth, Australia

There Will Be Tomorrow..

She has a torn mind, shattered by those weapons,

She has abandoned homes and women without desires,

Her children are without childhood and old men without a smile,

Young men with hatred guns pointing at her heart,

Tankers crushing the arid motherland,

It never transforms her children from childhood to old age,

But makes them terrorists in their first confrontation.

The air that she breathes today is never the same as it ever before,

She is the most beautiful city but her shores are not bluer anymore,

She is elegant but her skies are not blue for the birds to fly,

Now they never return to its nest in the night,

The trees that once gave shelter to many

Turned into remnants of the past in the bullet rain,

There is no storming sea to triumph

Rather it has terror implanted in its land.

The skeleton of hatred that it leaves these two lands at the end

Once will declare to the world:

The hatred that exploded in us,

Every life that lost in the war for religion,

There will be tomorrow to say with hope–

One Religion, One World

asato mā sadgamaya; tamasomā jyotir gamaya; mrityormāamritam gamaya; Oṁ śhānti śhānti śhāntiḥ

From ignorance, lead me to truth; From darkness, lead me to light; From death, lead me to immortality; Om, May there be Peace, Peace, Peace. [‘Peace Mantra’]

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

At first I thought the title of this poem promised one of hope, improvement and eventual peace. My projection was premature: this poem deals with polar opposites that cannot in our present world be handled diplomatically. Negotiations between terrorists and those they attack could find no safe common ground to meet. So the fear, hostility and mayhem go on and on. No change for the better is possible in these circumstances. Sajee Rayaroth dramatizes a confrontation which leaves a once beautiful city in shambles and the factions even further apart. And the sides become more entrenched in their ideological positions. ‘One Religion, One World’ – this is the slogan of the terrorist side. Religion becomes a root word for relationship. The terrorist side has no relationship with fellow human beings, and they want to impose their view of God and religion, without persuasion or debate. It seems that tomorrow of the title is very distant.

Marianne Larsen Reninger, USA

Cell Theory

terrorism begins with one man

One Man

One Frayed Heart

One Transgression

One Repression

One Obsession

One Radicalization

Two Men

Two Hungry Hearts

Two Ripe Conditions

Two Genuflections

Two Armed Munitions

Two Publications

Four Angry Men

Four Fractured Hearts

Four Black Souls Drawing

Four Tribal Bows Killing

Four Innocent Foes

And So It Goes, and So It Grows

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

In ‘Cell Theory’, Reininger takes a basic biological tenet, that a cell is the fundamental unit of life upon which everything grows and proliferates, and compares it the growth of terrorism and of terrorist ‘cells’, a term commonly used in the press to describe varying terrorist factions. In four simple straightforward stanzas, she demonstrates the growth of a terrorist cell and of terrorism.. starting with ‘/ One Man / One Frayed Heart’, to ‘/ Two Men / Two Hungry Hearts /’, to ‘/ Four Angry Men / Four Fractured Hearts / / And So It Goes, and So It Grows /’. In addition to increasing the number of men and their ‘hearts’, Reininger cleverly uses only one to two capitalized and descriptive words per line to highlight the roots of terrorism, thereby emphasizing the importance and heft of each reason, each word. For example, she describes the one man with the words, ‘transgression, repression, obsession, and radicalization’. In the next stanza, she expands on these words to include words highlighting opportunity, religion, and publications. In the third stanza, where four men are now involved, the language in the poems gets even darker, describing ‘/ Four Black Souls Drawing / Four Tribal Bows Killing /’; but it is the last line in this stanza that hits hardest: ‘/ Four Innocent Foes /’, which highlights the senseless killing of innocent people who’ve unwittingly become victims of warfare, while trying to live out their daily lives. Thus, in highlighting that terrorism starts with just one, can the reader then extrapolate that the solution to terrorism can also begin with just one person, one loving heart, one poem, one..?

Terry Robinson (HE George), UK

And the Writing’s on the Wall

From cave pictures, with hand sprayed self portraits.

To a church’s pulpit displaying Psalm Twenty Three.

The writing’s on the wall

From mud huts to stately homes.

The writing’s on the wall

From the nail driven torso hanging from the eaves.

To bullet chipped, blood soaked wall of the firing squad

The writing’s on The Wall

From the cleaved head. That reminisces Salome’s deed.

To a child’s barrel-bombed and desecrated body. Too

late to share its uncorrupted mind.

The writing’s on The Wall

And from the push of the first button to the

push of the final button.

There will be NO writing on the wall

Is that the writing we want for us?

The world is at war. Humanity is in flames.

And I have tears. But, nowhere to cry.

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

This amazing, well-crafted poem doesn’t contain the usual rhetoric related to terrorism such as descriptions of bloody shouts, strong shocks, gas masks, or bombs. The voice of this fantastic poet, Terry Robinson, shows through seemingly unrelated metaphor on the effects of terrorism throughout time. I see this history through images ranging from the head of John the Baptist, the pierced body of ‘homo erectus’, to the poor infant in the ancient days of Sumerian Civilization in Mesopotamia. I see shattered heads; I escape Salome’s wrath; and I walk through the epochs, through history. These words and images are united in their marrow, and all this is accompanied by the mantra, “The writing’s on The Wall”, that will echo in my ears, maybe forever. This phrase emphasizes his point that mankind has a propensity for violence or terrorism and this nature is the ‘writing on the wall’, or something that cannot be changed. A good poet often transcends genre or topic, and here, images and words fly through the ages, transcending time until the dystopian end when the poet turns to his own humanity, as well as to the remains of the world, surrounded by ruins, in the manner of a post-apocalyptic hero when he writes: ‘/ The world is at war. Humanity is in flames. / And I have tears. But, nowhere to cry /’. The poet conveys a universal message that the world is changing, but the scenery remains the same. The room for interpretation is not immense, but it is ambiguous, seemingly without hope or even a small opening through which one can cry and breathe. A circle has neither a beginning nor an end: it is one single, continuous line, a never-ending cycle without progress, where the past is endlessly repeated.. ‘until he comes out at the beginning’ (Fishman). Or, should I quote Jim Morrison, ‘This is the end, My only friend’.

Rizwan Saleem, Pakistan

Lend Me Your Tears

Lend me your tears

For I have none left

I was crying the day before – For the dead in Iraq

I was crying for the little boy – Who washed up on the shore

Then I cried some more – For the dead in Beirut

I sobbed and wailed for Syria

Lend me your tears

I have shed my own

And given them away too

I saw a mother put her children to ground

She did not cry, she never made a sound

So I gave her my eyes

To borrow for a little while – But the sight was still the same

And there are always others to blame

So I walked a little more

To dry my tears and hide

I saw a little girl – Her dead father by her side

Lend me your tears – She said

I have none left to cry

I’ve been here now for two days – My father doesn’t rise

Lend me your tears – I cannot see the different flags

The tri colors or bi colors – Bleed in the east, or bleed in the west

Kill them here and blow them up there

The pavements and roads filled with the dead

The congealed and sticky blood – Will always be red

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

This is a ‘Poem of Grief’. It is almost unbearable to read. When I was in college the poet and translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy, John Ciardi, visited the campus to talk to us about poetry and guide us along Dante’s journey in verse. I remember he cautioned us about ‘Compassion Fatigue’, about identifying with so many suffering individuals that your mind cannot process everything demanding attention and it becomes numb. I have never forgotten what he said, but I don’t think I have ever fully agreed with him. Why can’t we humans, with our resources of feeling, with our religious and humanist beliefs, be able to find reserves of compassion in our psyche for all the suffering we witness? When the poet encounters the little girl keeping a hopeless vigil next to her father’s corpse, he doesn’t say, “Sorry, Child, I have nothing left”. Compassion Fatigue, you know. Too bad we didn’t cross paths last Tuesday. Then I would have used my last ounce of compassion over you and him. But – As I say – Nothing’s left. That is not the situation with Rizwan Saleem’s poem, which is a fountain of compassion spilling forth an endless supply of refreshing spiritual waters. Other words fail me. Let me borrow Hamlet’s eloquence and say, “I will wear (this poem) / In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart”.

Leila Samarrai, Serbia

Où vas-tu, Seigneur?

A happy game

a first strike

with a ball

in Paris

a first turn

then

turn around

play begins

in Paris

“Où vas-tu, Seigneur?”

The crying stops

the laughter stops

the clocks stop

the dance stops

the ball stops

in midair

breaths are held

the seeds of terror sown

in Paris

“Mais, où étais-tu, Seigneur?”

The jackals and scoundrels

are exposed..

to a fallen mankind

It is the end of the world.

It has begun..

*

Commentary by Valsa George Nedumthallil:

As a bolt from the blue, when terrorists abruptly unleashed terror on a group of people who had gathered in the concert hall to spend one evening in joy, they were stupefied by a horror too deep for expression! The poet here has captured that freezing moment in all poignancy. The clocks suddenly stopped and time stood still; the music stopped and the pall of gloom suddenly fell..! Through broken images, the magnitude of the crime and its impact are successfully conveyed. The day is almost like an apocalypse or Doom’s day. The poet denounces the attack as a scoundrels’ act and wonders if the world is falling into the hands of a pack of scoundrels!

Kirti Sharma, India

It’s been so many years from now,

and the world has changed since

the ruthless invaders broke the homes

in which the innocent people lived.

They fired the souls,

killed the little things,

their religion may be unknown,

but to us, their act was a sin.

They tried to arouse fear in us,

watched us shouting and crying,

pleading them to stop,

but that’s what they were enjoying.

And it’s been so many years from now,

we have lived without our love,

whom we lost on that day,

because of some heartless ones.

But we are not terrified,

we are strong enough to fight,

as we stand here, united,

we stand for our rights.

Soon karma will play its role,

as they left us crying on our land,

they won’t get the time to mourn.

May their heart beats for those

lives of people which got froze.

Only love, if shared among us,

surely can give birth

to a new peaceful world.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The poetess painfully but completely recalls what happened years before when the ‘ruthless invaders’ overwhelmed her community with unprovoked violence. Even as they murdered people, they laughed at their helplessness and their pleas for mercy. ‘Their act was a sin’ is the belief that has circulated throughout the poetess’ community; it is a firmly held belief in their innocence and the invaders’ injustice. It is a belief that unifies her community. On one side of things, the poetess cites her community’s belief in Karma, an abstract cosmic law which requires no human intervention in its course of justice. ‘Soon karma will play its role’, she affirms confidently. But on the other side of things, is her community, ‘strong enough now to fight’, no longer weak and helpless but prepared to ‘stand for our rights’. The poetess stands between these two ways of honoring the victims, seeking and obtaining justice, settling the moral accounts. The way of Karma involves no actions tainted by a sense of revenge, requiring only patience from the wronged people. But the path of action is an atavistic descent, a surrender to the same dark forces that prompted the massacre ‘so many years before’. But slicing through that opposition is a third alternative. The poetess chooses this option and it closes her poem in sweetness and light: ‘Only love, if shared among us, / surely can give birth / to a peaceful new world’.

Anzelyne Shideshe, Kenya

Mr Terror

Oh my eyes, the atrocities I see!

Humans destroying humans,

Religions extinguishing religions,

Brothers endangering sisters,

Nation against nation, globally, everywhere!

Children endangered, women sexually humiliated.

All subjects of Mr Terror.

My ears are numb, they have forfeited their sense,

To bomb blasts and daily grenades,

To ruined buildings, a grim history,

Of burnt bodies on blooded streets,

All Hell is broken loose, Heaven come to my rescue,

Take me away from Mr Terror.

I have been demonized,

Made prisoner to silence,

My dreams are shattered, my thoughts crippled,

My soul haunted, I cannot face my neighbour,

They have become strangers, my brothers too,

At the hands of Mr Terror.

Armageddon has begun, hunger and disease,

Spread like a virus, your fear and hatred spread,

Their contagion, like wild fire ,

Yet, like a phoenix I arise from the ashes of your destruction,

Recovered from the virus, I arise.

Arise to stop Mr Terror.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The turning point in this vividly imagined poem occurs in the last stanza when the poet declares that the virus of fear and hatred which seemed to be unconquerable proves to be curable. So her poem can close with these lines celebrating the ultimate victory of Goodness and Truth: ‘/ Like a phoenix I arise, from the ashes of your destruction, / Recovered from the virus, I arise / Arise to stop Mr Terror /’. However, before that turning point, the poet’s striking imagery gave me a much different view of Mr Terror. In the first stanza she implies that he is the force of contradiction dividing the world into self-destructive conflicts. I was reminded of Fritz Lang’s eponymous Dr Mabuse, who also worked behind the scenes manipulating people and institutions to death and collapse in the troubled 1920-30s. Stanzas three and four are the nadir of our fortunes: Prayer seems the only recourse when external and internal destruction, but no divine help, arrives. Poets speak to each other across the epochs and exchange poetic visions. In Act 4 of ‘King Lear’, one of the good men prays for divine intervention or ‘Humanity must perforce prey on itself, / Like monsters of the deep’. There may or may not be such an invisible ‘Hand of Fate’ but the poet turns away from this crisis and predicts a confrontation with Mr Terror. Hope prevails.

Osiel Silverino da Silva, Brazil

Flowers

A wilted flower to the sun’s heat,

Beauty fades the hideous face;

A heart without love,

A dark look.

Hate chest,

Weapons in the hands.

Bloodshed,

Blood everywhere.

Flowers that make no sense.

Tears and pain,

Hustle and bustle and cries of horror.

Life without value

And the banalization of violence

That takes in sensitivity.

Arms intertwine,

Voices unite in chorus,

Feet march on the square;

Flowers in memory.

Ask desperate:

Where is God in this madness?”

And the answer comes like lightning:

In the hearts of the people

Who raise white flags.”

Flowers that exude perfume.

*

[Portuguese version]

Flores

A flor murcha ao calor do sol,

A beleza desaparece da face odiosa;

Um coração sem amor,

Um olhar sombrio.

Ódio no peito,

Armas nas mãos.

Sangue derramado,

Sangue por todos os lados.

Flores que não fazem sentido.

Lágrimas e dor,

Corre-corre e gritos de horror.

A vida sem valor

E a banalização da violência

Que nos tira a sensibilidade.

Braços se entrelaçam,

Vozes se unem em coro,

Pés marcham na praça;

Flores em memória.

Perguntam desesperados:

“Onde está Deus nessa loucura?”

E a resposta vem como um raio:

“Nos corações das pessoas

Que erguem bandeiras brancas.”

Flores que exalam perfume.

(Osiel Silverino aka Osiel Basilio)

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

This poem has an urgency which drives the succession of compelling images that flash by in five stanzas. Each stanza is characterized by a symbolic flower that parallels the unfolding human drama. In the first stanza it is the ‘dark look’ of a ‘wilted flower’ that stands for the ‘heart without love’. The ‘hideous face’ of terrorism lurks in this opening stanza. In the second and third stanzas the symbolic flowers ‘make no sense’, and neither does the barrage of violence unleashed in these eight lines. The human presence is reduced to fragments of grief, bloodshed, tears and pain, life without value. This passage is the lowest point in the poem in which the actual attack and carnage are highlighted by sharp images: weapons in the hands, blood everywhere, hustle and bustle and cries of horror. The fourth stanza is an ascent out of the storm of violence as compassionate people on subsequent days marched together to place ‘flowers in memory’ of the victims and affirm their commitment to peace. In the last stanza there is both confusion and triumph. The confusion involves the question: ‘Where was God?’. The triumph is expressed in the ‘answer (that) comes like lightning’, but lightning which illuminates rather than terrifies: our salvation , the poet asserts, is embodied ‘/ in the hearts of the people / Who raise the white flag /’. This is obvious not the white flag of surrender but the white flag of innocence and goodness, which is not stained by murderous bloodshed. And the symbolic flowers of this last stanza ‘exude perfume’, which spread their sweetness among people of good will.

Pamela Sinicrope, USA

Habibi

Habibi.. I reach out my hand –

I offer you my love, my courage, my strength.

I see you sitting there on the outside

Wondering why you’re locked in a cage

While they’re out here dripping in honey?

Habibi.. I reach out my hand –

I offer you my ears, my arms, my eyes –

I see you crying and wondering, ‘Why?’

Wondering why empty promises

Of a girl’s hand and glory

In death is better than living?

Habibi.. I reach out my hand –

To stop you from joining with men

Who want to strap your boyish body in bombs

And leave us all in ashes and despair.

I’m sorry for what our world has become.

Habibi.. I reach out my hand –

Our time together is short.

Drink my haleeb, touch the earth, fear not..

Lift your mother’s veil and remember..

You are the beginning and not the end.

__________

Author’s notes:

Habibi: Arabic term of endearment, ‘darling’;

Haleeb: Milk.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

‘Habibi’, by Pamela Sinicrope, is the sad solo song of a mother who fears for her son’s life, and the loss of their Mother–Son bond. She is quietly but firmly trying to stop his drift into radical politics and perhaps into a terrorist cell. It is a battle of wills, and the mother proves to be a formidable opponent of the terrorists. The poem, being a dramatic monologue, has no narrative that brings closure to this crisis. The turmoil in the mother’s mind is enveloped in the larger turmoil of a world at war with itself. She may be on the verge of a great loss and I sense her desperation. The story being played out in this poem may be poised between despair and hope, but I hear in this woman’s voice the song of faith and the possibility of hope. It is a mother’s faith in the deep and ancient bond between mother and son. Four times the mother cries out, ‘Habibi.. I reach out my hand –’. The first time she exposes the insincerity of the terrorist leaders who exploit the young martyrs. The second time she demolishes the illusory promises of martyrdom compared to the truth of a mother’s love. The third time she admits she shares her son’s disgust ‘for what our world has become’, thereby making common cause with her son’s idealism. And finally, she makes her most personal and heart-felt appeal. She expresses every mother’s wish across the human generations for her son, ‘You are the beginning and not the end’. This poem may illustrate the only effective method to stop the spread of terrorism as a political tool. One person, whose love for the prospective murderer and martyr is incontrovertible, reaches out their hand, as the poem’s imagery puts it, and engages the candidate for terrorism in a redemptive exchange. The intimacy of the relationship is crucial, because only that closeness of being will make the appeal to abjure terrorism persuasive to one almost convinced to surrender to its false lure of justice and holiness. This is the paradigm of recovery: it is an act of love, it is an act of faith.

Petra Soliman, Egypt

Harmony Along

Once upon a time, this road belonged to the children playing football,

With bare feet, stained clothes, and a sweaty hair,

Their laughs filled the hearts of every person passing by,

And their innocence shined as bright as their spirits.

Who would have known such harmony could come to an end?

For all they have ever known was – love.

Suddenly, their screams of fear and helplessness echoed,

Broken homes are scattered everywhere in the city now,

With nowhere to escape to from this cold event,

Nothing lasts forever, but why has it lasted for many years?

As the blood runs dry on these wrecked streets,

Whispers of despair in prayers could I feel,

The silences mute the life within the city,

For the birds no longer sing,

As they fly away from trees caught on fire,

Could we look within ourselves and find the courage to hold hands,

And stand united in truth against the blind hatred – terrorism?

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Soliman’s poem, ‘Harmony Along’, describes how terrorism has affected Egypt and their children. Her strategic use of descriptive and almost fairy-tale style language paints a picture of what could have been or once was: ‘/ Once upon a time, this road belonged to the children playing football / / And their innocence shined as bright as their spirits /’. The poem transitions from this dream-like state to a lament for the current reality: no longer are the streets beautiful nor the children able to play freely outdoors, ‘/ Suddenly, their screams of fear and helplessness echoed /’. Following this painful description, the focus of the poem transitions to an introspective one as Soliman writes, ‘/ Nothing lasts forever, but why has it lasted for many years? /’. The primary theme of the poem, worldwide unity and solidarity against terrorism, is displayed in the final line of her poem, ‘/ And stand united in truth against the blind hatred – terrorism’.

Douglas Stewart, USA

Mourning, Marchons

Arms they hid beneath their cloaks,

Intent beneath facades of peace,

And fixed their paths toward Montrouge,

A concert, and 130 dead Parisians, a City

Mourning, Marchons.

The City of Light knew then its friends, they

Rallied from the clovered corners of the planet,

The tears of auld allies and former colonies glisten,

Late enemies stood next to Marianne, hands clasped in

Mourning, Marchons.

Current adversaries promise support, old friends

Pledge support and, as 70 years ago, is Paris Burning?

NO! The City of Light lifts her torch, Marianne sings,

Her standards of law and justice remain the same. Even in

Mourning, Marchons!

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

The poem, ‘Mourning Marchons’, has the character of an anthem as it invokes archetypal images of France to condemn terrorism and to celebrate the best aspects of a country dedicated to liberty. The term ‘Marchons’, references ‘Le Marseillaise’, the national anthem of France, and reminds us all to never give up or despair despite great hardship. The poem opens, in the first stanza, reminding us of the human beings who were murdered by terrorists in Paris. The poet brings ‘Marianne’, an allegory of liberty and reason and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty, to life, and reminds us of the famous image by Eugene Delačrois, where Freedom leads the people (“La Liberté guidant le peuple”), conjuring up feelings of power, freedom and victory. The poet calls on the ‘/ marching, even in mourning /’, evoking the final victory of freedom and justice over pain and death. This poem reminds us that despite all that has been lost and is being mourned, France will never change: ‘/ her standards of law and justice /’ will prevail.

Udaya R. Tennakoon, Sri Lanka

A Thunder Terrified Me

Unprepared sky to rain

Evening sun crawled in vain

Darkness besieged in plain

A sudden thunder hurt my brain

Frightened heart shocked

Fearful legs wondered

Under a tree asylum found

In the rumbling sky I cried

The terror that I was choked up

An error that nature gave me a wake up

Any kind violent makes me hurry up

To condemn, instantly to give up

Loving beings may never wish

Though some beings carry it

Manmade terror for man of lash

As a hatred sin they break our heart

Reasons from where it’s going to be born

Seasons teach well that the diversity for man

Masons who build the world for calm

Persons needed of justice to make it clean

A world in unbalanced is here and there

A thunder comes as atavisms nobody care

A remedy for hate must more love of care

A mind may turn to blossom then everywhere.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

The last line of this poem is one of the most wonderful closings I have read: ‘A mind may turn to blossom then everywhere’. What hope is promised! What goodness is offered! What joy is celebrated! In the midst of our present darkness, Udaya Tennakoon has cast the brightest ray of light. The poem is written entirely in figurative language. There is no cast of characters – terrorists, victims, witnesses – that derive from news reports or eyewitness. The time frame is not specified, nor is the location. So the narrative events we would normally expect from current events-inspired poetry are not present in this poem. Tennakoon has written an abstract poem, that is, he has eliminated all extraneous narrative or personal detail to hone in on the essential drama of the event. The thunder of the title refers to the terrorist attacks, and the sky unprepared to rain refers to the lack of readiness in the west. A strange darkness descends and seemingly paralyzes people with fear. It is as if the irrational acts of violence have unhinged the speaker’s mind. He seeks ‘a tree asylum’ but can neither act nor think clearly. But he has not lost his core values. The external violence of the terrorists somehow cannot touch them. They include diversity, calm and justice. And he is confident that they will prevail and heal this damaged world and its vexed population. The remedy for hatred is the increase of love. And that brings us to the closing line. The prophecy or prediction has been announced as something natural and human and accessible. The land and its people will flourish again.

Richard Thézé, UK

We are Charlie, We are Paris

Through terror

They may seek to divide us

And wage war on our liberty,

To contradict democracy

And limit our freedom,

But still we stand –

And we stand still by the principle:

‘Liberty for the enemies of liberty’,

For they will not answer to us

And we will not answer to them,

Now or in future,

But to a court higher

In whose books

The people is one –

For, regardless of religion,

We are one nation.

And concerning those matters

Over which we differ,

The truth will out:

‘Be no longer a people without minds –

We all are Charlie, we all are Paris’.

*

[German version]

Wir sind Charlie, Wir sind Paris

Durch Terror

Versuchen sie uns zu trennen

Und gegen unsere Freiheit Krieg zu führen

Unserer Demokratie zu trotzen

Und unsere Freiheit zu begrenzen,

Aber noch immer stehen wir –

Und wir bestehen noch immer auf dem Prinzip:

“Freiheit für die Feinde der Freiheit”,

Denn sie werden uns keine Rechenschaft geben

Und auch wir werden ihnen keine Rechenschaft geben,

Weder jetzt noch in Zukunft,

Sondern einer höheren Instanz,

nach deren Büchern

Das Volk eins ist –

Denn unabhängig von der Religion,

Wir sind ein Volk.

Und die Fragen betreffend,

Worin wir uns unterscheiden,

Wird die Wahrheit herauskommen:

“Seid nicht länger ein Volk ohne Verstand –

Wir alle sind Charlie, wir sind alle Paris”.

*

[French version]

Nous sommes Charlie, nous sommes Paris

A travers la terreur

Ils peuvent chercher à nous diviser

Et combattre notre liberté

Pour contredire la démocratie

Et limiter notre liberté

Malgré tout, nous restons debout –

Et nous restons debout par le principe:

“Liberté pour les ennemis de la liberté”

Car, ils ne nous répondront pas

Et nous ne leur répondrons pas

Maintenant ou à l’avenir

Mais devant un tribunal supérieur

dont les livres

Le peuple est un

Car, indépendamment de la religion

Nous sommes une nation

Et concernant ces questions

Parmi lesquelles nous différons

La vérité sortira

Ne soyez plus un peuple sans avis –

Nous sommes tous Charlie, nous sommes tous Paris.

(Richard Thézé)

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Thézé’s poem, ‘We are Charlie, We are Paris’, is both a logical and a heartfelt declaration of solidarity with the people of Paris. The terrorist attacks in January and November 2015, gained particular significance because they were a blow against a country at the heart of Europe, long accepted as the home of democracy and freedom. The poem takes full account of other terrorist atrocities around the world in the final lines of the poem: ‘/ We all are Charlie, we all are Paris /’. These words, along with the final lines of each stanza, not only emphasize the idea of standing firm and unified with the people of France, but also remind us that, wherever we live in the world, we are all vulnerable to terrorism. Through the lines, ‘/ And we stand still by the principle: / Liberty for the enemies of liberty /’, Thézé stresses the importance of resistance against any movement trying to undermine a way of life emphasizing liberty, the keystone of the national motto of France, and a founding principle of nations world-wide. The second and third stanzas of his poem outline a rationale for support but not revenge: ‘/ For they will not answer to us / And we will not answer to them, / / But to a court higher /’. The word ‘books’ refers to both the Bible and the Quran, and the phrases from these texts, ‘/ The people is one /’ and ‘/ We are one nation /’, highlight how two religions thought to be opposites, mirror each other on fundamental issues such as international unity.

Savita Tyagi, USA

The Terrorist

The terrorist – Raktabeej* malicious

Born of his own spilled blood –

In wicked human minds, devoid

Of humane and pious virtues

Respects no boundaries and

Recognizes no barriers in cruelty.

A terrorist has no religion, no creed

No nationality, no cast and no heart.

Harbinger of poisonous ideology,

Masked with countless identities,

It’s an acid thrown with vengeance

From unmarked hands upon decency.

He tramples upon nobility of thought,

Rooted in human mind that nurtures

Instinct of freedom and compassion.

He longs to extinguish the light that

Embraces the art and literature to breathe

Life upon an altar where love is worshiped.

Let us protect the light of altruism

That burns in millions of kindred hearts

From a much despised ruthless invader.

Let us allow wisdom to block the terror,

To rise in solidarity with like minds,

Invincible and strong like a solid rock.

___________

Author’s note:

Raktabeej was an Asura (demon). His story comes from ancient Sanskrit book ‘Devi Mahatamyam’. Whenever a drop of his blood fell on battle ground, a duplicate of him was born. It was only when Goddess Kali devoured the blood drops before letting it fall on earth that Goddess Chandika and her companions were able to destroy him.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

This poem compares a terrorist to Raktabeej, a demon of Indian folklore who is continually reborn and propagated from blood drops spilled on a battle ground. He can only be killed when his drops of blood are swallowed by a goddess, which suggests that evil has to be dispelled from within ourselves before we can be rid of it in our world. Not only does the demon multiply, he also seeks to destroy what good is left in the world and in ourselves. The poem opens in the first stanza stating, ‘/ The terrorist, Raktabeej, is malicious / / Respects no boundaries and / Recognizes no barriers to cruelty /’. The second and third stanzas describe how terrorism has ‘no religion’ and ‘no creed’, and that ‘/ long to extinguish the light that / Embraces the art and literature and breathes / Life upon the altar where love is worshiped /’. The final stanza is a call to action or response to the evil of terrorism. The poetess asks us all to come together and to use our wisdom, altruism, and kindness to block out evil and to ‘/ become as strong and invincible as a rock /’.

Mai Venn, Ireland

The Music Stopped

Thunder rolls from guns were observed,

Mutilated young bodies

Arranged in red locks across the crowded room,

Shock, dismay and carnage,

Weeping tears mixed with speechless teens,

Surrounded by extraordinary slaughter,

Bewildered young people, damaged for life.

Why? That is the question.

Will we ever get answers to this mystery?

Is it a mystery or an event foretold?

What did it all accomplish?

Media hype to drive Europe into submission.

Did it work? That is another question.

Who will give us this response?

The grim reaper of death, mingled amongst them,

Who gathered the bleak harvest of souls.

Newsflash on our radios and televisions,

The world looks on, helpless and disturbed.

Each country wondering, ‘Will we be next?’

All feel heart-rending emotion for France.

We express grief with them and for them,

May their loved ones rest in peace.

*

Commentary by Leila Samarrai:

Like Virgil leads Dante through hell, Venn leads the reader through a bloodstained Paris, using strong and convincing poetic images. Through a picturesquely woven artistic structure, the poet has strung together harsh images that create the feeling of the current existence in France and the world. The title, ‘The Music Stopped’, reminds us how we felt when the attacks occurred, and also refers to the massacre during a music concert. The symbol of ‘The Grim Reaper’ is used, reminding us that souls are being gathered as we look on, ‘helpless and disturbed’. The image also reminds us that we do not know who will be next, where the next terrorist attack will occur and who will be killed. The poem ends in an unsettling note of ambiguity and sadness for the victims with the last line ending, ‘May their loved ones rest in peace’.

Niken Kusuma Wardani, Indonesia

Us and Them

We dance in the light

Share our joys and delight

They stumble in pain

Foster anger in the brain

We are lost in fake euphoria

They stir hatred to hysteria

With rage-possessed minds

They incite evil, deceive the blind

All at once, we confront them

Hear, clearly, the death anthem

The gun speaks aloud

A bomb shakes the ground

We drown in blood and tears

Concede freedom, our worst fear

We curse and make them a target

Massacre them without regret

We and they become connected

By means of our hatred

Now, the endless chasing

And the ceaseless hunting

Ensnares the world in heady revenge

As troops ruthlessly avenge

They beleaguer our souls with terror

And we legitimize the error.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

Wardani’s poem, ‘Us and Them’, uses a simple couplet rhyme scheme to convey the hypocrisy of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’, when considering the use of violence to eliminate terrorism. The poet explains that when we counter terrorism with more killing, we become ‘/ [..] connected / By means of our hatred /’. Such an approach to attempting to rid the world of terrorism can only result in a never-ending cycle of violence, or an ‘endless chasing’ or ‘ceaseless hunting’ of the perpetrators. The final couplet emphasizes the poet’s condemnation of all violence, both by terrorists and in response to terrorism: ‘/ They beleaguer our souls with terror / And we legitimize the error /’.

Snir Yacoby, Israel

Might

We are all connected.

Do we share the same thoughts?

Do we share the same views?

Are we united in our minds and hearts?

Reward is what they seek.

I see, I understand.

Foolish goals, with means of destruction.

Firmly, we must stand.

The darkness is creeping in.

Justice must prevail.

Reason is battling fearlessly.

But to no avail.

Open your eyes and minds.

Use all your might.

Don’t stand idly by.

Let them see your might.

*

Commentary by Daniel J. Brick:

This poem is an urgent summons. The urgency is displayed in the short, emphatic lines of its ballad stanza. The poet is anxious for our compliance. ‘We are all connected’, he affirms, but then asks three questions about the degree of that connection. He does not develop a lengthy argument but rather highlights two themes: ‘Justice must prevail’ against a creeping darkness, which refers to the insidious methods of conflict used by terrorists to target innocent people, so that people will abandon their will to resist such evil out of fear; the second theme is the exhaustion of reason, which cannot mediate such circumstances. In the last line of the poem, the poet does not say, “Retaliate with Force Now!”. Rather he seems to be proposing a “Show of Force”, one that will convince our enemies that we are resolved to defend our lives and values. At least that is how I read the last line: ‘Let them see your might’. This poem guides my understanding of the poet’s sense of urgency and anxiety, but what I admire in his writing and the thinking behind it is the moral attitude he displays. He does not demonize the enemy nor does he call for massive retaliatory attacks. Within the larger context of the inhumanity of all warfare, this poet maintains his reason and moral sense. It is often said “Truth is the first casualty of war”. Here is an example of the opposite situation, wherein reason prevails and truth has its being.

Asma Zenjali, Morocco

A Rude Awakening

I woke up that day to the noise of the T.V.

Wondering what was the matter,

Curiosity left me no choice but to watch.

I saw fire and devilish flames everywhere;

I watched the people hiding and felt scared.

I saw many pictures of destruction and death –

Tried to make sense of who is responsible

Who to trust and who to blame,

I looked for reasons.

The victims in France, Tunisia and many in Syria

Are significant in the Lebanon by my criteria.

Their souls were stolen by such misdeeds,

By evil spirits, their goal to spread terror;

To conceal war between powers

Who seek to dominate and control.

Terror is when injustice and ego rule

And the world divided:

East. West. Muslim. Christian.

When no one is willing to listen,

A greedy few thrive and the many die hungry

It is terrorism in all its forms that I am against.

*

Commentary by Pamela Sinicrope:

‘A Rude Awakening’, by Asma Zenjali, urges the reader to reconsider a new definition of terrorism that incorporates not only the selfish acts of killers who ‘free their anger’, but also the perspective of the people living in countries where terrorists might originate. In addition, she also reminds us that victims of terrorism live in Muslim countries too, such as Syria and the Lebanon. Her poem makes an appeal for an expanded definition of the concept of terrorism that goes beyond ‘evil spirits’ to a consideration of politics. While not specifically stating any country, she is suggesting that the whole world is responsible for terrorism, that our current politics have all contributed to this evil climate. She further defines terrorism as resulting from a divided world where Christians, Jews, Easterners and Westerners do not listen to each other. The poem culminates in the poet’s strong stance against All terrorism. This slightly uncomfortable poem uses strong words that implore the reader to consider and reconsider the roots of terrorism.

*

Addendum

Poems by

Billan Abdirhman Adam, Somalia

Umaima Ahmed, Pakistan

Emdadul Hamid, USA

*

Billan Abdirhman Adam, Somalia

Terrorism

The one who brought the tears because of a child’s fear,

Inside the heart that has pain but never tries to heal.

Terrorism wouldn’t exist if there were people who would collaborate,

And if their darkness falls they can’t illuminate.

Let the people live their lives so they can create and

Pick the leaves of life to appreciate:

All that it takes is a mind that can stimulate!

Now that people are dying we just commemorate.

Killing and fighting with bombs, the aim; to discriminate,

Inside their hearts it is filled with hate but now it’s to exterminate.

But people who understand are the ones who can hallucinate.

They have beautiful hearts and souls that can communicate;

Intellectual eyes or ears that can confabulate.

What would happen if a brother and a sister dissimilate?

Would they come across each other just to incriminate?

This is the base of the fight!

Stress, worry and problems are the base of terrorism.

Blood and victims are your descendants.

What will you gain from killing children?

Where will you go, will be my question.

___________

Billan Abdirhman Adam is an 8th grade student at Abaarso School, Hargeisa, Somaliland (Somalia). She has a great wish: to be a Poet.

Umaima Ahmed, Pakistan

A Suicide

When red tickers splash the screens

There is a blast it means

Death toll increases

Everything around freezes

Hospitals are filled with withering lives

Husbands holding on to their wives

Mothers wail the child lost

“Why me?” oozes out of each wound

Alas! ‘Voters’ questions have no sound

‘Haves’ halfhearted promises

Their flowers, compensations

Can’t dampen

The ‘Have nots’ will to still live

These are not video animations

Angels sitting on clouds are waiting

To enter the world they are debating!

Oh Mother!

Price of a coffin is too dear to afford

Please cut off the umbilical cord

I am safe inside

Save me from his suicide..

___________

Author´s Note:

For many of us, the terrorist attack in Lahore, on March 27th, was a repeat of APS. A large number of women and kids were killed and many others terribly injured. The play ground that once echoed with laughter of kids had turned into a pool of blood, agony and silence. The terrorists have ‘proudly’ accepted this inhumane act and have promised to carry out more attacks in the near future..

Umaima Ahmed is a journalist at ‘The Nation’ Newspaper, Lahore, Pakistan.

Emdadul Hamid, USA

UnInHabited Reality

Peace

A lie

A deception

A word that does not exist in reality.

As I stand in this once peaceful city, Paris,

seeing the bullets fall like raindrops

hearing the sky explode like thunder

BOOM

A flash binds us

To only see more death and sorrow.

Now I stand near the grave of the dead

to only feel the burden of innocent.

Just because of one’s thirst to kill

In the name of peace

A lie, a deception.

___________

Emdadul Hamid is an 8th grade student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. The poem was submitted by his teacher, Ms. Katlyn Bennett.

Birgitta Abimbola Heikka, Nigeria

Yerwa, City Ablaze

Yesterday, they announced the killings were over

The enemy has retreated, beaten and ashamed

But today, Assiatou, less than a score in years,

disrobed her suit of death sending

more than a score to hell.

Not a single seed of corn was left in the house

so off to the market Ibrahim went

A place of awe for many

for it is frequented by girls

decked in suits with the face of death.

The market was safe today and Ibrahim smiled

as he logged two sacks of corn on his back.

But when he returned, his home was ablaze

Inside, his mother and baby sister.

Fatoumata, not more than a dozen years,

laid like a roasted cow not far from the blaze.

Ashes of the dead fill the air

Abandoned shops line brown deserted roads

and cacti surround lonely houses jealous

of the bush where their occupants have fled.

Don’t go to the markets” are the words on many lips

for where people are gathered so are bombers

But not Bello a fisherman who sells fish for a living

I’m now used to the blood spills”, he says

like an oil spill

What should I do? Stay home and starve?”

Mohammed donned on Assiatou the suit of death

Abubakar armed the child Fatoumata with the chains of sorrow

Who dons on Mohammed his clothes of extinction?

Or supply Abubakar with the chains of grief?

For in this game of death is an invisible chief

He laughs while the whole world burns.

__________

Author´s Note:

Assiatou, Fatoumata, Bello: they are pseudonyms for characters in the poem.

 

Birgitta Abimbola Heikka was born in Nigeria. Now she lives in the USA.

Authors’ biographies

Sayeed Abubakar, Bangladesh

 

— Born in 1972, I live in Jessore. I have a BA Honours in English and MA in English, and I’m working as Assistant Professor in English at Sirajganj Government College, Sirajganj (Bangladesh). I have won many Literary Awards and have published 12 books: two of them of Prose, ten of Poetry [the latest being ‘Tumi Balo Tumi Bristi Valobaso’ (You Say You Love Rain), and ‘Shrestha Kabita’ (Selected Poems), both in 2015].

*

Alexandro Acevedo Johns, Chile

 

— My name is Alexandro Acevedo Johns, but I sign my writing with my maternal surname (Johns). I am Chilean, born on November 2, 1947. I’m a lawyer and live in Santiago, the capital of Chile, with my wife Marcela. In my youth I was devoted to poetry, as many of my generation. Now, since I retired from the legal profession, I’ve regained my freedom to write. It is said that writing is a very demanding activity and endanger the spirit if you’re not an optimist. But, after the years, I feel that writing helps me to stay alive and connected emotionally with the world we live in.

*

Billan Abdirhman Adam, Somalia

 

— My name is Billan Abdirhman Adam. Born October 26th, 2002, I live in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and am an 8th grade student at Abaarso School. I have three sisters and one brother. Not all of them live in my country but they all go to College which means I am the youngest in the family. I have a lot of hobbies and a great wish: to be a Poet.

*

Umaima Ahmed, Pakistan

 

— I’m a journalist at ‘The Nation Newspaper’, Lahore, where I live.

*

Saadat Tahir Ali, Pakistan (currently in Saudi Arabia)

 

— I was born (January 1965) and bred in Pakistan. A medical doctor by profession, with postgraduate qualifications in Radiology, I’m currently living in Qaseem, Saudi Arabia. My hobbies include indoor plants, interiors & woodwork and making friends. Over the years, I have traveled to many countries and as a reasonably experienced traveler, I am a senior reviewer on travel and foodie sites. I like nature landscapes architecture and history. I am averse to concrete jungles. I am a diehard audiophile. I consider myself a wide eyed student, ready to listen, learn and improve. I loved poetry when I was at school, started writing decades back while at cadet high continued through to King Edward Medical College. Freedom from bondage in all forms and colours, love and universal brotherhood are my cherished values. I am an incorrigible romanticist and love music. I write my mind. I’m not an expert poet just someone who likes to read and write..

*

Paul Amrod, USA (living in Germany)

 

— I am American married to a wonderful German lady and live in Constance, Germany. As a symphonic composer I’ve successfully integrated my passionate interest in many popular music styles with a rigorous classical training. Born in Chatauegay, New York in 1951, I began my musical career as a rock-and-roll piano player. After earning a Master’s Degree in composition from Juilliard, I spent several years in New York, performing jazz and rock piano and arranging for A&M Records. Later in life, I started an illustrious career as a contemporary classical composer.

*

Leah Ayliffe, Canada

 

— I was born in Toronto, in 1991. I have my BA degree in English Literature. Yet to me words are power. They can be cinematic, sonic, beautiful, ugly, simple and complex – pushing limits in endless ways. Words can be dangerous and liberating. I write because I feel I have to. There is a chaos stirring inside myself that only acts of creativity can fix- if only temporarily. Reality isn’t something I believe to be true, that would be disappointing.

*

Khaoula Basty, Tunisia

 

— Born in April 1987, I live in Manouba, Tunis, and began writing poetry in my early twenties. Over the years I have been involved in various Poetry projects and clubs. I now find a lot of inspiration through my job as an English teacher, because this gives me the opportunity to meet a variety of people who encourage me to write. I love also reading books and spend my free time reading. My happiness is when I buy a new book and enjoy reading it. My happiness is when I write a poem or a thought. I think that writing means “I am” —I am present, I still breath: I suffer no more. Writing is power. I usually write about love, hope, despair, peace, war and religion. When I opened my PoemHunter’s account and found an email from Dr Fabrizio Frosini, I was very excited. So, I went through my poems and I chose ‘Belief’, which I wrote on 10th October 2015, after the death of the Syrian baby (well, I did change it a little). Actually that email made my day. First, I want to thank Fabrizio Frosini for this initiative and also thank all the other poets for their participation. We use a pen and a paper to face Terror and to spread Peace and Love all over the world. Finally, I hope we will meet one day. Peace and Love from Tunisia.

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Lawrence Beck, USA

 

— I live in the US, in Nebraska, with my wife and two of my four children. My wife and I are not native to this blandly attractive, relentlessly sunny area. We grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which features spectacular scenery, but also quite gloomy weather. I have brought that gloom with me, and it often shows up in my poems. Though I graduated from college, my degrees are in economics, not English or literature. I currently work part-time hauling freight in the back of a department store. My background, my distance from the “lit-crit” department/workshop hothouse, and my real-world job probably help to give my poems their unusual matter-of-factness. So, too, does my intense admiration for Elizabethan English poetry. I honestly believe that English language poetry, for the most part, steadily has declined since that era.

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Daniel J. Brick, USA

 

— I was born in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities, in 1947 and lived my whole life here. This is where I am rooted, near the Mississippi River, in a landscape of four seasons with many trees and parks and lakes. These are the natural things I treasure. Poetry and classical music are my passions. Over the years most of my friends have moved to warmer climates, so in old age I find myself to be something of a loner. But I have a talent for solitude. Latest eBook published: ‘How To Write Poetry – Come Scrivere Poesie’, A Handbook – Manuale - *Bilingual Edition, English-Italian ( see the list of publication at the end of this book).

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Sophy Chen, China

 

— Sophy is my pen name, the official name is Lihua Chen. I am a Chinese poetess and translator, born in 1975 in Lueyang County, Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province. I graduated from English Institute of Xian Foreign Studies University in English Literature. I am the Founder of “Sophy Poetry & Translation Website” and its Chief Reviewing Editor, a researcher of the International Poetry Translation and Research Center, a guest chief editor of The World Poets Quarterly (Multilingual) and a member of the Translators Association of China. I began to write Chinese poetry in 1989, and English poetry in 2004. I’ve published my own poetry (English or Chinese) and translations, in newspapers and magazines. I’ve translated part of poems in the Chinese-English Textbook ‘300 New Chinese Poems (1917-2012)’ and in ‘World Poetry Yearbook 2013/2014’. I was awarded the “Legendary Poet”, in 2012, by the international English poetry website poetry.com. In the same year I won the annual “International Best Translator” Award 2012, issued by IPTRC. In 2014, I won the Chinese Contemporary Poetry (2013-2014) Translation Award. I’ve translated six Chinese poetry collections into English: ‘The Flower Swaying’ (2014), by Zhao Xingzhong; ‘Tibetan Incense’ (2014), by poetess ZiYing; ‘The Outlook of Life’ (2014), by Yang Ruopeng; ‘Different Tunes’ (2014) by poetess Greensleeves; ‘The Body Forward’ (2015) by painter Tan Jun, and ‘A Poetry Biography for White Snake’ by Liao Shidie. I’m currently living in Guangzhou, China.

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Terence George Craddock, New Zealand

 

— Born in Westport, New Zealand, in 1960, I’ve lived in various places, in my country (Christchurch) and overseas (in Istanbul, Turkey, for four years, and Jakarta, Indonesia, for 10 years). Now I reside again in Westport. I have a large collection of poems, mostly posted at PoemHunter.com

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Sahra Hussein Dahir, Somalia

 

— I was born in 1996. I grew up in Somaliland (north Somalia, which separated from Somalia in 1991 but is unrecognized internationally) and currently live there. In my spare time, I enjoy playing basketball, writing poems, and reading. I am introverted, left-handed, and according to sixteen personality types of the Myers-Briggs, I am an INTP person. I am an open-minded person who likes to learn different cultures and meet different people. My youngest brother’s name is Mohamed and every single time I see him he reminds me of my father. He is as handsome as my father, and he has his smile, his behavior and his walk. Everyone sees my father through my brother’s eyes. My father died when I was 12 years old and I remember that day. It was doleful days. The world will give you most things you need but time will take them away from you and replace them with pain and memory. After a long time struggle with the loss of my father, my life became unhappy and I fought almost everyone who was close to me. I couldn’t change what was happening around me so I took a journey to find what makes me happy. I find my life easier when I am alone and thinking about my imaginations. To explore more I focus on educating myself. After I took the Somaliland national examination, (examination for the 8th grades students for the all country), I found a boarding school that is locates outside of Hargaisa. The biggest reason I went to a boarding school was to get a good education to find a better life. I have had different experiences and found out the best qualities I have. I am a talented and creative person. I have earned three awards in my high school: first place in cross country running. I knew that I wanted to be like Edna Adan. Edna was one of the biggest heroes of educated women in Somaliland. I have learned two foreign languages (English and Arabic) and I graduated in 2015. The people I love the most are mother and my siblings. I have six younger siblings and four older ones. My family is kind of funny because I am the oldest and middle daughter. As my parent’s daughter, I am the oldest, but counting my half-siblings I am in the middle. I like travelling and know different people and different cultures. In my holidays I have traveled in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Djibouti. I started writing poems when I was in tenth grade, when I had been speaking English for only two years. Part of me was eager to share my emotions and the things that were going around me because one of my interests was to tell stories. My experience mostly inspired my poems. Writing poems is the way I express my feelings and it is a way I escape from the hard times and enjoy good times.

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Driss Ezzireg, Morocco

 

— I am currently living in Meknés, Morocco. I was born in December 1953. I retired from teaching and supervising high school teachers in 2013. I’m now enjoying my life better. I paint, draw and write poems very loosely. Painting portraits is what I like best with a particular touch of mine. Poetry comes second as I gave it a try quite recently, though I read a lot of it in my life.

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Geoffrey Fafard, Australia

 

— I am a landscape gardener, born on 11th April 1951 and living in Cairns, Queensland. I have been engaged in my own business for some 23 years. I am an avid traveler, with a large degree of interests in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. I have wandered around all corners of Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and the UK, much to my delight, and also travelled to the USA. I write as I go, which to me is the best part. Collected written memories accumulate and accompany me through my journey of life. I have been writing forever and hope to continue.

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Weiyao Feng, China

 

— I was born in 1993 and raised in Jiangmen, Guangdong province. Now a college student in my 4th year, studying finance. I want to be a programmer, because I recently discovered that it is my passion. I am a pretty good unprofessional soccer player in a team of my city and I am also a pretty good chess player, both Chinese and Classic chess. I’ve been writing poetry since high school, mainly in English. It lets my feelings to flow out: I feel good when I write. My mom is a doctor, here in China, while my father runs a restaurant in Venezuela.

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Grant Fraser, UK

 

— I live in Aberdeen, Scotland. I was born in June 1964 and began writing poetry in my early twenties. Over the years I have been involved in various poetry projects and groups. I now find a lot of inspiration through my job as a postman, as this gives me the opportunity to meet a variety of people as they go about their day to day lives. I am also a keen photographer and love to spend my free time capturing the weathered North East Coast.

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Fabrizio Frosini, Italy

 

— Born in Tuscany in 1953. Currently living close to Florence and to Vinci, Leonardo’s hometown. Doctor in Medicine, specialized in Neurosurgery, with an ancient passion for Poetry. Author of more than 1300 poems, in 13 collections. Seven of them are published as eBooks. Among them: «The Chinese gardens – English Poems», and «Karumi – Haiku & Tanka» [visit my Author’s Page or read a poem].

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Negar Gorji, Iran

 

— Born in 1995, I'm a twenty year old girl from Isfahan (in ancient time it was the capital of Persia and after a Persian proverb: "Esfahān nesf-e- jahān ast" - Isfahan is half of the world). I am a student of English literature at Sobhe Sadegh Institute, and love writing poetry and short novels –my favorite is to write about how I see the world, and I'll tell you that I’m really looking for Peace. A few years ago, two of my short stories were published in "Etela'ate Haftegi" magazine, and I'm currently working on a new short novel whose theme is the major purpose of us all, the definition of ‘Life’. I have posted some of my poems at PoemHunter.com, but this is the first time that a poem of mine is published in a proper book.

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Bright Kwamina Grantson, Ghana

 

— I hail from Enyan Abaasa, in the Central region of Ghana. I had my secondary education initially at Ordorgonno SHS, then to Ghana Lebanon Islamic SHS, where I earned the name ‘Bola-Bola’. I’m now at the Department of Mathematics Education; University of Education Winneba. I am always smiling and always busy. I love Mathematics with all my heart. One of my favorite quotes is “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to maintain your balance you must keep moving forward”.

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Dilantha Gunawardana, Sri Lanka

 

— I’m a university lecturer and scientist by day and a dreamy moonlighting poet who burns the midnight oil on his poetry blog. I was educated at University of Melbourne [Ph.D. and B.Sc.(Hons) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology] and currently serve as a Senior Lecturer in the Molecular Plant Sciences. I was born and have lived most of my life in Sri Lanka, but I’m infused with traces of influence from Australia and the Philippines where I have resided for significant time periods. I consider myself an old-fashioned romantic and a drifter of fate who meanders like a river unknowing of its course. I am also a prime example of a late bloomer who loves the little things in life – quirky trivia, haiku poems and fireflies. [visit my blog]

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Emdadul Hamid, USA

 

— I was born in Bangladesh, but now I live in the USA. I’m an 8th grade student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. I was told of your project by my teacher, Ms. Katlyn Bennett.

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Birgitta Abimbola Heikka, Nigeria (living in USA)

 

— I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1960 (the year of “equality” for many African countries). I now live in the state of Maryland, in the United States.

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Nosheen Irfan, Pakistan

 

— Born on 13 March, 1978 in Lahore, where I currently live. I studied English Literature at the University of the Punjab. I teach English to secondary classes. I’m the daughter of a civil engineer who inculcated the love of books in me. Thanks to his taste in literature, I had access to some great literary classics at an early age. I became an avid reader and have gathered an impressive collection of books over the years. I turned to writing at a later age but have made it a point to write daily ever since. I draw inspiration from both classical and contemporary literature. Apart from that, Nature, people, life and social issues inspire me to take up the pen. I have my work published in “Eastlit” magazine and hope to find a wider readership in the future. I have had the good fortune to read great literary works by internationally renowned writers that have enlightened my mind and broadened my horizons. Literature has helped me grow as a person. I have become more open-minded through my exposure to great minds and have gained a broader perspective on life. I will love to take up writing as a profession if the opportunity arises. Yet, at the moment I’m content writing to express myself creatively. It gives me the greatest pleasure to become a voice that is heard somewhere.

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Galina Italyanskaya, Russia

 

— I was born in the USSR, in Ukhta, a small northern town surrounded by forests, and grew up there between civilization and wilderness. From the early childhood my curiosity about everything in the world has no limits. I love nature, science and art, music and literature, travels and discoveries, and of course I love my children. Thanks to my friend I began to write poetry in English about 8 years ago, and now I can share it with you.

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Afrooz Jafarinoor, Iran

 

— I was born in 1972, on a cold day of January, the same date as Federico Fellini. I’m from Hamedan, Iran, now a resident of Tehran. I’m a teacher and writer. I have studied two majors: English and dramatic literatures. I write poetry, plays and scripts and I translate various texts. I know some languages except English, German, Kurdish and Turkish, but none as well as English, and my mother tongue is Persian, as I was born an Iranian. daughter of a brave war veteran and a talented gentlewoman, fortunately I’ve grown to be truly human.

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Farzad Jahanbani, Iran

 

— I was born in 1980, in I.R. Iran, and live in Tehran, the capital. I’ve a master degree of EMBA. I have been writing poems since 1995 in my native language (Persian) and, since 2014, also in English. Visit my web-page at PoemHunter.com.

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Vincent Chizoba John, Nigeria

 

— I hail from Nkporo, in Abia State, and I currently live in Lagos, the major city and former capital of Nigeria. I am a poet, film director and novelist.

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Kinyua Karanja, Kenya

 

I’m a Kenyan freelance writer, a poet and screenwriter, living in Nairobi. I am in my final year in University of Nairobi doing B.Ed (Arts), majoring in Philosophy and religion. I was born in 1990 in Central Kenya, into a Christian family. My knowledge in philosophy, religion and Christianity background has shaped my writing especially poetry. I have a great interest in history and current political and social issues in the world. I write out of passion to make a change in social and political life for an ideal society. I have a lot of work to be published in near future.

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Sofia Kioroglou, Greece

 

— I was born in 1974 in Athens -where I live-, on a beautiful Saturday morning. I'm a writer, a prolific blogger and poet; my work is included in several publications. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. You can learn more about me visiting my blog

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Varghese Kuncheria, India (currently in Oman)

 

— I’m Varghese Kuncheria, an Indian national working in Muscat, Oman, since 2004. I was born on February 14, 1953 in India. I did my M.A. in English literature from Christ Church College, Kanpur (Kanpur University, India). I’m a senior Lecturer, teaching British and American literature to the undergraduate students in a college in Oman. I started writing poems while I was working as a teacher in Ethiopia, 1978–1985, and continued to write after a long gap, from 2009 onwards. I’m very passionate about the peaceful co-existence of the people anywhere in this planet, and cherish to see such a world order. I’m a good chess player too.

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Kelly Kurt, USA

 

— Born in 1958, I’m a father of six children. During my life I have explored many avocations: I’ve been a competitive athlete, singer, gardener, woodworker, ravenous reader, experimenter and philosopher. I’ll beam and prattle on when asked about my personal high energy accelerator lab, my time as a bodybuilder, my green thumb, days in my band or the buildings I helped to restore, but get the most joy from talking about my children. Divorced for many years, I now live in Polo (Illinois), in a 160 year old church building that I helped friends restore nearly a decade ago. Taking care of the church and its grounds is my daily occupation now, and I draw from this passion for much of my current poetry. In my early teens, my mother instilled a love of writing in me. Unfortunately, in my senior year of high school, my beloved mother died. But I continued to write and my words often portrayed the unfairness and pain of life. Yet, the wonder of nature, the beauty of friendship and mystery of life in general, would alter my poetic direction. Some universal themes would still work their way into my writing, but the day to day, seemingly mundane aspects of existence began to be explored as in depth topics: the spider, trapped in a sink by slippery, stainless steel walls, fruit falling over-ripe to the ground and rotting, and even just observations of the back of my own hand.

Until 2015, I had written almost exclusively for my own eyes. But with some encouragement I sought out a publisher for a humor book, inspired by my children. After many rejections, a contract was obtained. The thought of being published for humor alone sparked a desire to have my poetry seen as well, and I became a member of an online poetry site. This renewed enthusiasm for my verse and led me to a new burst of creativity. I promote the joys and benefits of writing to almost everyone I meet and encourage new poets to find their voice. I still wish to be remembered as a loving father above everything else, even a poet. Title of my book is ‘Good Night, Sleep Tight: Dos & Don’ts for Bedbugs’. Visit my Facebook-page.

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Lionel Lerch aka Cocteau Mot Lotov, France

 

— Born in France, I live in Lyon. I’m a member of the French Slam Team «La Tribut du Verbe», Winner France slam championship 2014. Invited by Marc Smith to perform for the show «uptown poetry slam», Chicago, in April 2015. I have two books published: «Attentats rhétoristes» (éd. 205, Lyon, 2015); «Château de cartes» (éd. La passe du vent, Lyon, 2012).

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Birgit Bunzel Linder, Germany (currently in HK)

 

— I was born in 1962 as the ninth and last child of a blue collar family in Oberhausen, a coal mining town in Germany. I left Germany in 1990 to get my PhD degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I also lived in Taiwan and China, and now in Hong Kong. I hold degrees in Sinology, Dutch Literature, Political Science, Modern Chinese Literature, and German Literature. I am professor of Chinese and Comparative Literary Studies at the City University of Hong Kong, and my research and writing concerns the areas of literary madness, Medical Humanities, Gothic literature, and German literature. I have previously published poetry and photography in Asian Cha, the International Literature Quarterly, Cerebration, Kavya Bharati, Clockwise Cat, and Mad Poets Review, and other Chinese journals. My other interests include reading, writing, Chinese ink and watercolor painting, and photography. In 2013 I won the Proverse International Prize for Poetry for my poetry collection ‘Shadows in Deferment’.

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Tapera Makadho, Zimbabwe

 

— I was born on the 18th of February 1974 in the communal lands of Zaka District on the periphery of Masvingo in Zimbabwe. I attended Mafuratidze Primary School from 1982-88 before enrolling at Machingambi Secondary School where I attained my GCE ‘O’ Level in 1992. I lost my father in 1988 and grew up under the care of my grandmother as such advancing with my education became difficult. Pursuing higher learning was a luxury they couldn’t afford hence I had to contend with my GCE certificate. In 1997 I trained as a Policeman with the Zimbabwe Republic Police whereupon completion of training I was posted to the quasi military wing of the Organization; Support Unit. Subsequent to my posting to this Unit, I found the duties there challenging, at times dictate that I preoccupy myself with writing especially when deployed in the scary game parks. Spanning to over 18 years, these gruelling experiences undoubtedly carved both my character and the manner in which I perceive life issues. I then started writing poetry sometime in 2005 after a former colleague and close friend, Elvis Nikisi who was already into poetry had invited me to write a poem which I did and have been writing ever since. I’m married to Caroline and we are blessed with a daughter Kudzai aged 6 years.

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Kenneth Maswabi, Botswana

 

— I am a Motswana born on 14th November 1977 in Maun, Botswana. A Motswana means a native of Botswana. I am currently living in Francistown, Botswana. I am not married but have one son. I studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of Melbourne, Australia. I am now working as Study Coordinator/Physician, specializing in clinical trials research. Poetry to me is a way of communication (to myself and others) beyond the normal physical reality/connections. Poetry nourishes the senses, grooming them to perceive even the slightest physical/emotional/spiritual imbalances in environment or myself. I started writing poetry as a teenager; mainly love poems (I found it easier to express my feelings in a poem). I continued to be a closet poet until about one year ago, when I discovered PoemHunter.

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Denzel Mbatha, Zimbabwe (currently in South Africa)

 

— I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m a poet, I wish to write like my heroes one day, the likes of Tupac Shakur and Shakespeare. I’m also a novelist.

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Mallika Menon, India

 

— I hail from Kerala’s capital city, Trivandrum, on India’s southern tip, but I enjoyed my life in Mumbai. Lover of music and literature, I sing songs and poems. One day, I started singing my own poems! I offer collection of poems in mother tongue Malayalam as well as English. Simple emotions, gentle feelings and shades of empathy reflect in my poetry. I like reading philosophy. I enjoy interior decoration. I’m travel-savvy, keen to explore cultures and cuisines world-over.

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Leloudia Migdali, Greece

 

— My name is Leloudia Migdali. I was born in 1959 in Itea, a nice little city close to Delphi, ‘the center of world’. Attended school there till 1979, then followed a course in the English Literature Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Back to Itea, where I still live, ran my own English institute till I was appointed at the public sector. I have been teaching English for the past 29 years, in Primary, Secondary and High school as well as in the Maritime College in Galaxidi city. Meanwhile I got a postgraduate degree on Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Patras University. Poetry and writing has always been my favorite hobbies. After my retirement from public sector, I have been devoting more time in writing poetry. Currently writing poems on life and the way I see it. I also write contemporary articles on online sites. Happily married and mother of two children.

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Asoke Kumar Mitra, India

 

— I live in Kolkata, India. By profession a journalist , writing mainly on finance. A stock market feature writer and an analyst, I’ve been writing poems for last 45 years.. Poetry is my passion.

Dark comes in, grows around me, the void in my heart says you are absent”.

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Zoran Mitrović aka Neran Sati, Croatia

 

— Born in Zagreb, in 1950, I’m a doctor in Medicine, specialized in Neurology. Got my MD and PhD at the University of Zagreb; my MS in Neuroscience from Yale University Graduate School. I have been writing poems in my native language (Croatian) since I was a student. In 1993 I published a book of collected poems: “Ponoćni leptir” (Midnight butterfly) in the ‘Albatros’ series. Further, I contributed to three anthology volumes written by Croatian doctors in Medicine: “Vukovarsko zvono” (Vukovar bell) (1995), “Sat bez vremena” (Clock beyond time) (1999), and “Liječnici pisci u Hrvatskoj književnosti od Dimitrije Demetra do danas” (Physicians writers in Croatian literature since Dimitrije Demeter till today) (2008); the latter published by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Since 2015, I’ve posted 85 poems in English at the website PoemHunter, under the alias ‘Neran Sati’. I believe and support the genuine humanistic vocation of a dedicated work, so to improve any intercultural antagonism, along with and through an Education emerging from the Universal Humanistic ideas and principles, enriched by modern Science.

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Istvan Dan Molnar Uriel, Sweden

 

— I live in Sweden, in a place called Nykroppa, Varmland, but I was born in Hungary in 1950, in a small community close to Budapest, called Fot, where I grew up. Time and expectation was always greater than what a simple life could offer: my dreams always went to the sky.. I’ve seen lot of falling stars all my life, even in my dreams. My life changed after military services; got married, moved to Budapest, began to study at the technical college. Before last year’s ending, moved to Sweden with my wife.. A new life again, studying Swedish, even French, later English, and more languages.. I began reading a lot of books, most of them in Swedish and English. I’ve always liked Science, but Psychology and Philosophy were my passion: Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Maimonides, Friedrich Hegel… After 3 children my wife wanted a divorce.. A new life again, but the details were more painful. I went to Paris for a short time. I’ve been a legionary, but found no consolation. Back to Sweden, I was later asked to move to Israel.. Another language to learn, again. After 13 years there I got enough, so I came back to Sweden as a retired man. Now I live in solitude, with my dreams.. mostly reading and writing poetry. Sometimes I dream about words: I like seeing words in pictures and I’ve begun to find connections between words and pictures..

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Souren Mondal, India

 

— I was born in Chandannagar, north of Kolkata (West Bengal) – where I live-, on 10th November 1991. It was a Sunday and that, somehow (I suspect), shows my fondness for both holidays and procrastination. My first serious encounter with poetry was when I was 16 and read Ronsard’s “Quand vous serez bien vieille” (‘Sonnets for Hélène’, 1578), a poem that left an impact on me. I always prefer writing about whatever that comes in my mind in as simple way as I can. But at the same time prefer to write about social issues from personal experiences. I don’t know if I am a good or bad poet, but I write..

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Anitah Muwanguzi, Uganda

 

— I was born 31st Dec 1992 in Jinja, Uganda, and I am currently living in Kampala, the capital. An unpublished fiction writer and poet, I’m practicing journalism at 104.1 Power FM in Kampala. I am still pursuing a bachelors degree in development studies at Makerere University, Kampala.

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Bharati Nayak, India

 

— I hail from Odisha, an eastern state of India which has a great heritage of art and architecture. I was born in 1962 and live in Bhubaneswar with my husband and our three lovely children. I have done my Masters degree in Political Science from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Writings are our signature we leave for the posterity. Writings connect our hearts with other hearts across globe, across space and time. Writings help in our inner growth and can bring about profound change in the society. Writing is my hobby and passion. I write in English and in the vernacular language Odiia. I have published one poetry book in Odia titled ‘Padma Pada’. My English poems have been published in the newspaper ‘The Statesman’, in the magazine ‘Odisha Review’ and in the Anthology book ‘Splash of Verse’. My Odia poems have been published in a number of newspapers, like ‘Samaya’ and ‘Anupam Bharat’, and magazines like ‘Utkal Prasang’, and others. I am a member in different poetry organizations, in India and abroad, and also write a blog, namely Bharatispen on Wordpress.

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Valsa George Nedumthallil, India

 

— Born in 1953, I live in Ernakulam, Kerala. After a successful career as a college teacher, when I retired from service, I took to poetry. Now it has become an obsession and a mentally rewarding engagement. As a sensitive person and a lover of fellow beings, I am grieved to see the insidious and sometimes horrendous assault on man and Nature. I write on a wide spectrum of topics spanning Nature, Love and Human relations. As most others, I long for a peaceful world where man is bound to man by the invisible thread of love and live in amity and harmonious co existence.

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Srijana KC Neupane, Nepal

 

— My family name is Neupane, but we have been using “K.C.” since generations (it stands for “Khatri Chhetri”), and I have KC in all my official documents and citizenship. I was born in 1990, in a middle class Hindu family, in Kathmandu, where I live. I have two siblings. Being my father a Captain in Nepal army, recently retired, I went to the army school. Later I completed my MBBS degree on 2012, then internship on 2013, and worked as house officer for a year. At present my situation is exactly the same as my country: we don’t know where we are heading! I write both to express myself and for my love for Art and Creativity. Only recently I started sharing my poems, and this is the first time I have one of them published in a real ebook. Besides I like painting, reading books, visiting places, trekking at times. Yet, sleeping is what I’d like the most, if only I could.. but I know I will never get free time once I enroll in post graduation. I listen keenly to Buddha’s words and therefore follow peace since my childhood. My name Srijana in Nepali means ‘Creation’.

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Eunice Barbara C. Novio, Philippines (currently in Thailand)

 

— I am a Filipino residing in Thailand, where I’m an English Lecturer at Vongchavalitkul University, in Nakhon Ratchasima. I’m a poet and a free-lance journalist, being a regular contributor at the Global Pinoy Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I’m an activist and one of the first to call against the Lumad killings, an indigenous people in the Philippines, through here poetry published in the Philippines. I’ve just published my first collection of poetry entitled ‘Maps of Dreams and Memories’, which is now available at Amazon and Lulu.com. A number of my poems are also included in anthologies. I’m also a woman’s advocate and my researches are published internationally. I live with my husband, Josemari Cordova, our children Kairos and Karina, and our five cats, in Thailand. My eldest child, Karl Malcolm, is in the Philippines finishing his university education.

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Fatima Obaidi, Pakistan

 

— I was born in a Muslim family, on a Friday, 19th December 1997, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. My father gave me this holy name, Fatima. Reading, writing, calligraphy, painting are my hobbies. I started writing poems when I was in 5th class and I did write many ghazaliyat (poems) in Urdu. I love writing, it is my passion, I have it in my soul. I also write short stories, novels and articles. I am a student and I will continue writing, along with my studies, because knowledge will give me a better chance in life and writing will motivate it – hence both are essential for me, and hope that my poetry will be liked by the Readers.

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Marcondes Pereira Da Silva De Mesquita, Brazil

 

— Born in 1991, I live in Barueri (Brazil – State: São Paulo). I’m a poet who is searching for my own truth, in this liquid world. I write to understand myself and the chaotic universe we’re living in. I love studying languages and listening to Heavy Metal. My poetry speaks about war, love, religion, Philosophy, History and several other themes, although I write chronicles, tales and theatre plays too. My biggest influences in terms of poetry are: Camões, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Homer. I study their texts to create my own epopees, which I would like to see transformed in music. In my free time I love reading (both poetry and novels) and staying together with my girlfriend. I am a technologist at the Faculty of Human Resources, Fernão Dias University, and in 2015 I started to study three languages: Spanish, Finnish and Japanese. I love to learn about different cultures around the world, and I’d like to show the world my poetry and prose writings.

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Sajee Rayaroth, Australia

 

— I am an Australian Citizen living in Brisbane, Queensland and a Chartered Engineer by profession. I was born in India and hold an Overseas Citizen of India status as well. I did my Post Graduation in 1995 and currently pursuing PhD at University of South Australia. As part of my engineering profession, I have lived in many parts of the world including the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and now settled in Australia. This gave me a chance to learn various cultures, people and way of life in different countries. I have an immense passion towards literature. I have written several poems and short stories mainly in two languages: English and Malayalam (Indian language). Being an avid reader and enthusiastic writer in the social media, I have published some of my works in the National and International media, both in English and in Malayalam.

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Marianne Larsen Reninger, USA

 

— I was born in Denmark in 1944 and emigrated to the United States with my parents in 1947. I began painting and writing at a very young age and by 16 was studying painting and taking commissions. My prime influence was a Russian born artist, Tatiana McKinney, world famous with work in the Vatican and in major museums. From Tatiana I learned to see “the atmosphere between the mountains” and the “meaning between the words”. Today, I paint and write from my mountaintop home near Asheville, N.C.. I consider myself an “editorial artist” with my acrylic/collages often containing original poetry. My work is textural, touchable glimpses of the natural world and my reaction to life’s political and social merry-go-round, words become as important as the brush strokes. The work is meant to be read, like a favorite book or poem, as well as, absorbed, like a visual feast. My websites: www.mariannelarsenreninger.com; www.pinterest.com (Marianne Reninger’s Art board).

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Terry Robinson aka HE George, UK

 

— I am 57 and retired Research Scientist, living in Fareham, close to Portsmouth, England. I have been married for 37 years. I have two daughters who have grown and flown. I have one dog, two cats. I walk, write and contemplate. I spent 15 years in the Army. And served with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in the Falklands Conflict 1982 and as a Brick Commander on the Streets of Northern Ireland, during the ‘Troubles’. I earned my British Armed Forces Parachute Wings in 1986. Further, I represented my Corps in the World Free Fall Championships. When I re-joined civilian life, I earned my first degree in Molecular Biology and my PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Crystallography. I became a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth. My birth name is Terence Robinson, but I write using my father’s initials HEG, after losing my father to cancer in 1991.

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Rizwan Saleem, Pakistan (currently in UAE)

 

— I am a Pakistani banker based in Dubai, UAE, born on 25th Oct 1978. The thoughts and expressions detailed in my works are of my various escapades suffered through life, and of the profound surprise of having survived long enough to pen them into words. My poems have appeared in anthologies: ‘Twenty Seven Signs’ by Lady Chaos Press and ‘Self Portrait – Poetry Collection’ by Silver Birch Press.

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Leila Samarrai, Serbia

 

— Born in 1976, in the city of Kragujevac, Serbia, I’m a writer and translator of Serbian-Arabian origin. I write poetry, stories, plays and novels and envelops them in the motives of fantasy and humor. My direction in literature is to weave fantastic realism into horror stories, and the use of magic realism and the surreal. My debut poetry book won the first prize at the Student cultural center of Kragujevac competition. My work has appeared in many local magazines, both in print and electronic publications. I’m currently living and working in Belgrade. I love cats. [visit my blog]

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Kirti Sharma, India

 

— I am 19 years old (born in 1996) and live in Delhi, India. Currently I am pursuing my Under graduation in Science from Delhi University. I started writing poems when I was 15 years old, as I realized that only a few words can describe the beauty of nature. I learned how each line of a poem has its own music. The poems written by P.B. Shelly are my favorite, ‘Goodnight’ being the one of them. I generally write poems on love and solitary as these two conditions are common in every person’s life. My poems consists of simple words & are easily understood. Even though I’ve been writing poems since many years, I had never taken part in any poetry competition, because i could not write poems on any given topic until and unless i don’t feel it from my heart. But last year i gave it a try and secured a third position which increased my self confidence. I am looking forward to other poetry competitions in the coming months. My other hobbies are singing, dancing and reading novels. Paulo Coelho is my favorite author. I am planning to study genetics or marine biology in my Post Graduation.

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Anzelyne Shideshe, Kenya (currently in Germany)

 

— born and bred in Eldoret, Kenya, in 1982, where attended high school up to year 2000. In 2002 I moved to Mombasa where I studied marketing at the Technical University. Working in sales and marketing has been a plus to more experiences. I’m currently in Germany (Baden-Württemberg) and my passion to write intensified.

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Osiel Silverino da Silva aka Osiel Basílio, Brazil

 

— I was born in January 16, 1983, in the city of Cariacica (ES, Brazil), where I currently live. My city is small, but it’s close to the state’s capital. I love writing: I’ve been writing since I was a child and not a day passes on without I write something. My father has always been my inspiration: although blind in one eye, he reads widely. I have two books published: ‘Stop of Ritual’ and ‘In the basement of the soul’.

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Pamela S. Sinicrope, USA

 

— I was born in Frederick, Maryland in 1970. I spent most of my youth in Texas; and now, for the past 13 years, I have lived in Rochester, MN with my husband and three children. I have a doctorate in Public Health, with an interest in reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer through focus on families, lifestyles, and genetics. As a young child and raised as a Unitarian, I have fond memories of hiking in the woods and reading poetry while sitting on rocks and communing with nature. When I was twelve, my grandmother and I used to write letters and share our poetry with each other. I enjoy: tennis, music of all kinds, reading (poetry and prose), and spending time with my family. I returned to writing poetry over the past year in my 40’s. Now that my children and I are older, I have time again, to reflect, write, and read. And I love doing it most every day!

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Petra Soliman, Egypt (currently in the GCC)

 

— Born in 1991, I am an Egyptian-born freelance writer, currently living within the GCC since 2000. I participates in debate competitions as well as leagues to raise awareness for women participation.

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Douglas Stewart, USA

 

— Born 72 short years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA on a cold February morning in the middle of World War II. Father a would-be farmer who, in reality, was an argumentative, fundamentalist machinist. Mother a housewife and on-again off-again Retail manager. I went to South Division High School, in Milwaukee, spent a brief period in the United States Air Force, did some time at National Public Television’s Milwaukee branches, Channels 10 and 36 as a production student. I almost gave it all up to become a cameraman —man, that was fun! Finally graduated cum laude from UW-M with a degree in History and a minor in American Literature. I have been a fireman (safety man) on the Chicago Northwestern Railroad, a district circulation manager for the Milwaukee Sentinel, a fabricating plant manager, a long haul, I’ve been everywhere, truck driver, and an editor and designer for TSR, Inc., the creators of Dungeons and Dragons©. And through it all, I have been a poet. Now, I didn’t mind that, except for the fact that we get little respect and little to no money, I really do love it. Besides, it’s like my own, private curse. I frequently refer to myself as “The Napkin Poet”, a term I owe to Rapper Talib Kweli, who recalled writing rhymes on napkins in an interview on an American talk show. It struck a chord, because that’s exactly what I have always done, grabbing any scrap of paper to jot a scene, a rhyme, a phrase. In the big truck, however, I had a wee, battery powered cassette recorder so I wouldn’t have to take my eyes off the road. These days, of course, my napkin has a keyboard and a large screen, and I keep an IPOD next to my bed for late night inspirations. I rather do everything, but in poetic form. I like storytelling, science, humor, ancient mysteries and contemporary puzzles. As a trained historian, that too is grist for my mill. I collect unusual, archaic, and obscure words and have no qualms about using them in my work. My motto is actually a quote from Bob Dylan, “But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”. I currently reside in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with my wife Georgia.

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Richard Thézé, UK (currently in Germany)

 

— I was born in 1959 and am English. I have always enjoyed reading poetry. In 2009, however, I was asked by the director of the Bangkok school where I taught to write a poem, as a tribute to the King of Thailand’s sister who had died the previous year. Though originally written in German, the poem was published in a high-society Thai magazine in English. The same year, I wrote a second eulogy following the tragic death of a fellow teacher. Moved by the touching words spoken about him by his mother at his funeral service, I felt the need to record the words and my own feelings on hearing them. Since then, I have written a number of poems. I do not find the creative process an easy one. The right inspiration and having something pertinent to say on a topic is, I feel, the most important aspects of my writing. I am currently an English teacher at an International School in Bremen, Germany.

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Udaya R. Tennakoon, Sri Lanka (living in Switzerland)

 

— As a Diaspora Poet, I live in Zürich, Switzerland, but my home country is Sri Lanka, where I was born in 1970. Being a political refugee, I could see the world in many perspectives and engage with writing and research. I graduated from University of Colombo and University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. At the University of Basel, Switzerland, and also at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, I studied ‘Peace and Conflict Transformation’. As a writer, I’ve written some theater works and contribute articles to many websites. [visit my blog]

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Savita Tyagi, USA

 

— Born in 1948 I was raised and educated in North India studying History, Hindi and Sanskrit literature and English as a required foreign language for B.A. and completing my M.A. in Western History. After my marriage I migrated to California and later came to live in Oklahoma, Edmond, where I reside currently with my husband of 46 years. I have been a part time public school teacher and volunteer while my children were growing up. For some time my love for reading was limited to Fiction, history and literature of English language partly because I couldn’t keep up with my language. However the need to expose our children to their language, culture and religion brought me back to my roots. While organizing children’s classes at my home and temple I started studying more of our spiritual books in English as well as in Sanskrit and realized that some of the best poetry worldwide was hidden in the ancient literature. In contemporary writers Shri Aurobindo’s writings have influenced me most. At a friend’s urging we have started a Sri Aurobindo Bhagvad Geeta study group. When and where I started writing poetry I do not know. I guess when thoughts started screaming for expression! Looking back I have enjoyed and learned immensely from this journey of more than thirty years and hope to keep up with it. Some of my poems have been published in newspaper, anthology, and magazines. A self published book of poems, ‘Back Yard Poetry’, is available through Blurb. Since I have been a leisure and pleasure writer, most of my poetry and other writings have been on my blog When Thoughts Get Wings.

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Mai Murphy Venn, Ireland

 

— I live in a town called New Ross, County Wexford. I am in my early sixties. I am married to Edno and we have a large family. I love poetry and I find it to be a way to express emotion. I can say things in a poem I would not dare to say in my every day chat. I can become the voice of the oppressed that have no one to speak up on their behalf. I suffer with dyslexia but I will not let it be a barrier. If I have something to say, I will say it. If I have something to write, I will write it. When people are killed by the hands of terrorists and there is a retaliation as a result more innocence lives are eradicated. I feel that my weapon, the pen, will strike a chord sometime in the right ear. I am not a good writer by any means but I will make the attempt to speak out about wrong doing.

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Niken Kusuma Wardani, Indonesia

 

— I was born on February 17, 1976 in Jakarta where I spent most of my life with my husband and our two daughters. Despite the demanding work hours in Garments Company I preserved a special thought for words of poetry. I love to captures the feeling or scenes of imaginary tales in my poems. Poetry is a great sanctuary, where to find harmony and a rest from the daily hectic life. This anthology is my 4th publishing experience and I’m pleased to take part in such a collective work, being together with my fellow poets from different parts of the world.

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Snir Yacoby, Israel

 

— I was born in 1989, in Israel, and lived my whole life here. This is where I am rooted. This land is in constant struggle to survive, and that has made the people here downtrodden, but also warm and honest. These are the natural things I treasure. I studied Computer Science at the Holon Institute of Technology. Poetry, music and programming are my passions. I hope to be very successful in my field one day and I always surround myself with plenty of friends to support me and I also support them. The city I live in is Ness-Ziona.

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Asma Zenjali, Morocco

 

— Born in 1993 in a middle class family, I live in Marrakech, where I study Linguistics and English Literature in Cady Ayyad University. I love reading poetry and fictions. I started writing poems in 2013, but I have also written a short novel. My favourite poets are William Carlos Williams and Seamus Heaney, while among novelists I especially like Earnest Hemingway and Virginia Wolf.

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Poetry ebooks from the same Publisher

(*Bilingual Editions: texts translated into Italian by Fabrizio Frosini)

Anthologies of Poetry :

- ‘At The Crossing Of Seven Winds’ – English Edition;

- ‘Nine Tales Of Creation’ – English Edition;

- ‘Scattering Dreams & Tales’ – English Edition [you can download this book free of charge];

- ‘We Are The Words – Siamo Parole ’ - *Bilingual Edition, English-Italian;

- ‘Whispers to the World – Sussurri al Mondo’ - *Bilingual Edition, English-Italian;

- ‘The Double Door’ – English Edition (poems by Fabrizio Frosini and Daniel J. Brick);

- ‘How To Write Poetry – Come Scrivere Poesie’, A Handbook – Manuale - *Bilingual Edition, English-Italian;

by Fabrizio Frosini as sole Author:

- «The Chinese Gardens – English Poems» – English Edition – (published also in Italian Edition:

- «I Giardini Cinesi» – Edizione Italiana);

- «KARUMI – Haiku & Tanka» – Italian Edition;

- «Allo Specchio di Me Stesso» (“_In The Mirror of Myself_”) - Italian Edition;

- «Il Vento e il Fiume» (“_The Wind and the River_”) - Italian Edition;

- «A Chisciotte» (“_To Quixote_”) - Italian Edition;

- «Il Puro, l’Impuro – Kosher/Treyf» (“The pure, the Impure – Kosher / Treyf”) – Italian Edition;

- «Frammenti di Memoria – Carmina et Fragmenta» (“Fragments of Memories”) – Italian Edition.

 

— One more book is under publication:

- «Nella luce confusa del Crepuscolo» (“_In the fuzzy light of Twilight_”) - Italian Edition;

link to the Publisher’s Page at Shakespir

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Poetry Against Terror

Terrorism, which is one of the most important topics in the world today, refers to any act designed to cause 'terror' by means of violence or the threat of violence. As a fundamental rule, terrorism is politically and emotionally charged, because it is meant to instill fear within, and thereby intimidate people – an entire country or even the whole world. Terrorism is certainly frightening, but the best way we can fight it is by living our lives without terror. At the UN webpage on terrorism, we read: "Countering this scourge is in the interest of all nations and the issue has been on the agenda of the United Nations for decades." Now we can understand why 64 Poets from 43 different countries have written a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and to the Presidents of each of the countries whence they come from. As stated in the letter to Mr Ban Ki-moon: “Through the poems, we wish to express our unanimous desire for universal peace and to add our voice to those other unequivocal voices at the United Nations who say 'NO' to the scourge of terrorism”. It is a symbolic gesture, but it highlights their commitment as "Poets against Terror". As Fabrizio Frosini, the publisher, says: “I started this editorial project after the murdering of so many innocents in Paris, on November 13, 2015, as a tribute to them and to the countless other victims of terror, worldwide. I started the project, but it is a collective book: a compilation of poems written by poets from 43 different countries, worldwide, who believe in peace and brotherhood, and are against any kind of 'terror'. Other voices of the Poets: This project is about compassion for the victims of terrorism, it's a celebration of a simple equation: 'violence = more violence; peace = peace'. We have made it clear, we are not debating causes, but mourning a particular 'effect' which is the intentional murder of innocents''. - D.J. Brick, USA As someone born in Sri Lanka, a country that will always be remembered as the birth place of the suicide bombing, I can only offer my own tears to lessen the pain and to heal from this terrible plague and my own sweat to lay one brick to build a universal home for peace. - D. Gunawardana, Sri Lanka Наши потери мучительны, но террор - это инструмент манипуляции через запугивание, поэтому нам следует искать истинные причины, а не реагировать слепо. Our losses are painful, but terror is a tool of manipulation via frightening, so we should search for the true reasons and not react blindly. - G. Italyanskaya, Russia The most difficult aspect to accept about all the senseless violence in the world is the fact that we are doing this to each other, and that by now negative political, religious and social dynamics have become so complex that it is hard to believe in a better future. Therefore, each person must begin with him- or herself in contributing peace and non-violent solutions to our shared humanity. - B. B. Linder, Germany Iwe neni tikabatana, nyika inobudirira (in Shona) You are because I am, together we can make the world a better place - T. Makadho, Zimbabwe Jag sörjer och stödjer med all min vänlighet ,med tanken på alla oskyldiga offer och anhöriga,och tyst gråtande hjärtan,min tro bygger på ett liv utan grymhet, och ord som vågar uttrycka solidaritet. I gave rise to much kindness, I think of all the people and children and the hearts of silence cry, I admit a new faith without cruel life, how to find words how dare to dare. - I. Molnar, Sweden What is gained from the killing of children, people shopping for food, those just passing by? - L. Beck, USA The dead body of the 3-year-old on the beach will haunt humanity forever, if we can't put an end to terrorism! - A. Jafarinoor, Iran Avec un bout de papier et une plume On est capable de faire face au terrorisme.. We use a pen and a paper to face Terror.. and to spread Peace and Love all over the world - K. Basty, Tunisia

  • Author: Fabrizio Frosini
  • Published: 2016-04-07 18:50:41
  • Words: 40367
Poetry Against Terror Poetry Against Terror