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Posts Tagged ‘Ethnic Cleansing’

Young boys near village Mass-grave, Kosovo 2001, Photo – (c)Michael J. Whelan

 

Children of the War

(Peacekeeping in Kosovo)

 

Once, on the outskirts of a future memory,
we stopped our convoy
on a narrow road
near a fallen tree.
I was in the lead vehicle
bringing supplies to a forgotten village
the war had touched,
our first time on that ground.
The tree blocked the route
as if booby-trapped.

There was movement in the woods
as we pushed through,
we didn’t shoot.
It was good to see them,
we drove by and they came in to view
hands raised high- begging.
The ambush turned out
to be scared children
weary of uniforms,
we gave them chocolate
for their little victory.
There was nothing to fear
though they didn’t know it
when they saw us coming
and in the long run of things
their tactics worked –
their smiles keep me awake sometimes.

 

Michael J. Whelan

Published in the ‘contemporary Irish poets feature’ in issue 22 of Rochford Street Review – July 2017

see https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2017/07/06/michael-j-whelan-five-poems/

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Destroyed house – Kosovo 2001. (c)Michael J. Whelan

Deranged

(Kosovo, Winter 2001)

 

Cold day
Rain
Old woman
Damaged
Smelled
Ancient urine
Matted hair
Dirty clothes
Filthy skin
Living
In ruin
Burnt out shell
Hungry
Dying
Weeping
Gone mad
Charred remains
Her family
Inside home
Inside her
Murdered
Fearful
Of strangers
Would not be helped
Could not
Deranged.

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in the ‘contemporary Irish poets feature’ in issue 22 of Rochford Street Review – July 2017

see https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2017/07/06/michael-j-whelan-five-poems/

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Dark kosovo (Michael J. Whelan -2001)

BLACK BLOOD GROUND

(Kosovo)

 

Children huddled together on high ground,

barefoot in the freezing mud, no adults found.

 

The police had come like hunters

pictured victorious over their fathers.

 

Bodies hanged by distended knees

from branches of petrified trees.

 

Protecting arms reaching down

surrendering to the black blood ground.

 

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published recently as part of a sequence  in ‘From the Cradle of Civilization: Contemporary Arabic Poetry”, the fifth edition of Life and Legends’ http://lifeandlegends.com/cradle-civilization/

 

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Damaged house Kosovo, 2001. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Damaged house – Kosovo, 2001.  Photo: Michael J. Whelan

THIS PLACE

In the depths of your despair
I come,
enlightened.
With these eyes I see
those who would purge you,
desecrate your identity,
your existence.
With these same eyes
I see your vengeance
meted out, tenfold.
I see the scars,
the landscape,
the missing,
the future.
I will leave this place
and one day bear witness
to your glories.

Michael J. Whelan

Published in Tinteán online magazine – an initiative of the Australian Irish Heritage Network https://tintean.org.au/2017/01/06/poetry-12/

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Damaged house Kosovo, 2001. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Damaged house Kosovo, 2001. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

 

KOSOVO

 

Green shoots

why do you grow

in the rubble of this house,

while hearts are breaking,

does God not see

our tears falling on the ground

near the stony road

that ceases at one side of the river

and commences on the other,

where great armies once crossed

to be forgotten,

in this land that forged a village

and civilised it;

then forged the swords

that killed it,

where the blackbird died slowly

in the eagle’s grip,

screaming as the beak

pierced the flesh of its breast.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in A NEW ULSTER magazine, issue 34, July 2015, edited by Amos Greig

 

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Large grave, Albanian Village, Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan - 2001

Large grave, Albanian Village, Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan – 2001

 

SILENT CONVOYS

                      (Kosovo)

 

Playing fields and roadsides still

hide their prize,

flat packed strata

in the hard coveting earth,

layer upon layer,

limbs and possessions mingling

in an overcrowded place.

 

Sometimes we watched

from silent convoys,

listening for the word to come,

the searchers digging for what once

were boys and men,

longing to feel the day’s breath

on their bony faces,

to hold up their skeleton arms

and call out to those who love them still,

             ‘Here I am, here I am,

                        come, take me home.’

 

 

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Published in ‘A NEW ULSTER’ magazine, issue 32, May 2015, edited by Amos Greig

 

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Contrast - Winter - Kosovo, 2001, Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Contrast – Winter – Kosovo, 2001, Photo: (c)Michael J. Whelan

BROKEN SPADE

 

You lay in your frozen field, slack-jawed at how you

came to be there, your mouth caked in last year’s mud,

limbs twisted about your body as if in the midst of some

remembered dance or tempered at your rotting crops,

bent over in disgust, yielding in the half light and startled

at the cold – they have never felt.

This harvest, un-reaped and yet reaped upon you

hides the stale shoe and crushed spectacles,

the broken spade that hastily covered you in the soft

clay you loved, now steeled hard against the sharp sky.

 

I imagine the fears of your kin as they searched the high

golden horizon that summer day.

They might have felt the distant calamity that took you

following the bullet casings along the beaten track,

and I wonder if they found you,

then I see the scars of cluster bombs and scorched

stalks of your petrified labours and there, there in the shrapnel

of this bitter harvest I behold  your seed,

torn apart but reaching out to the one who bore them.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

Grave 2 001

Street Grave – Kosovo 2001 (c)Michael J. Whelan

 

featured in the new anthology  And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry,  Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –

see https://www.facebook.com/mgversion2datura

The official launch of the Anthology will be taking place in Skerries as part of Donkey Shots , Skerries First International Avant Garde Poetry Fest, which will be held on the 23rd of May.

 

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry Edited by Peter O'Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

And Agamemnon Dead
An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry – Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

You can purchase your copy by clicking on the link here  http://www.lulu.com/shop/peter-oneill-and-rosita-sweetman-and-michael-mcaloran-and-amos-greig/and-agamemnon-dead/paperback/product-22087100.html

 

 

 

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