They sent me off to Syria to document the war. I thought I’d have a painful job, too bloody to ignore.
But once inside the outside of the coldest, newest hell, I found a limitation on the things that I would tell.
I didn’t see what they did, like the rubble and the blood, or hear the screams of sorrow through the broken neighbourhood.
Behind bombed doors I didn’t hear the terror they were dealt; in front of hell I stood with them, not feeling what they felt.
I didn’t see or hear the dead, the dying, the bereaved; I didn’t know their tears were red, for mine were so congealed.
I didn’t see the babies hidden under bricks of clay; I didn’t know their names or where they’d liked to go to play.
I didn’t feel the pain they felt; the struggle to survive. I didn’t know the suffering of tiny little lives.
The things I saw in Syria were from another place; I looked upon the broken and I saw my daughter’s face.
I held a crying mother as she mourned her children three; and all I thought right then and there was Thank Fuck It’s Not Me.
From Syria I made a call with matters to report; my words were what I felt – not right to say the things I ought.
I spoke of how my children had enjoyed their Christmas Day, and how they’d been excited for the contents of a sleigh.
My kids were all so wonderful, I said with love and hope, not hearing any problem with the happy words I spoke.
I left the hell of Syria, and took a flight right home, and as I flew I knew I’d have to cry into a poem.
The children there weren’t Syrian, their blood belonged to me; the faces of the dying plucked straight from my family tree.
The falling bombs were merely seeds too late to be un-sown; and with the death of Syria, I looked and saw my own.