Monday, 3 October 2016



Yesterday, mother held her, suckling at the breast
And father tough, rough yet tender, spoke to her in baby babble.
He gently bathed her, caressed her.
Doing the best he could
In the circumstances.

While the mother, fraught, harassed and fearful, did her best
For the other three. Toddlers all.
Yes, the best she could
In the circumstances.

They coughed in the dust.
Choked. Retched in the dust.
Dry vomited in the dust.
But still, they had each other and deep love
To comfort see them through.

Today she won’t taste mother’s milk
Nor feel her father’s cracked and calloused hands about her.
Nor hear the sounds of brother’s laughter
Nor sister’s sweet voice.
They are gone. Obliterated. Evaporated.
Wet dust.

They died believing
When the politician in his ivory tower says truce
It is the truth.
When the politician in his ivory tower says ceasefire
It is the truth.

And when the rescuer with blood soaked hands
Pulls her tiny infant body from the rubble.
It is all he can do for her.
And all he cannot do for her
That cause his tears of pity and impotent rage
To drop heavy into the dust
To mingle with her family’s blood.
He did the best he could.
In the circumstances.

John Bain October2016


  1. Poignant. I am sure this was written because of the horrible picture that was in all the media. War is probably the worst human made action of all. Your poem and that picture show that with such feeling.

  2. A poem written from the heart to the heart. I wish there was something I could do..... how many people must feel the helplessness of war.

  3. Just so poingnant John, I feel for these people.