Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘War Poems’

MASS-GRAVE near Prizren, Kosovo-2001. (c)Michael J. Whelan

 

Old Man’s Tears

Kosovo

 

Wandering through ashes and misery
of memories daily desired,
landscapes of loving existence entwined
to a day of infamy fired.
Why graves in back garden we enquired
through interpreter we witnessed tragedy,
for old man’s tears trapped on beard
told a story of brutal savagery.
Burnt shell of home – on hurting ground,
daughters and wives ravaged within sight of sons.
All put to death by order of state
in front of old eyes,
no more to sire ungrateful children.

 

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/

Read Full Post »

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/

Read Full Post »

 

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/

Read Full Post »

Young boys near village Mass-grave, Kosovo. Photo - Michael J. Whelan

Young boys near village Mass-grave, Kosovo. Photo – Michael J. Whelan

QUESTION

(Kosovo)

There is a theory, one which I tend to like,

which says ‘energy can never die,

always has been, always will be,

only changes form,’

in the same way emotions

built upon events

become something else.

So my question is, – like war

are the tears that rolled down

the young boys face onto bloody ground

when cluster bombs accidently fell on his village

(dropped by those who had come to help)

transformed in some way

and if so

what have they become?

Michael J. Whelan

Published in ‘The Burning Bush 2’ online Literary Journal , issue No. 8  http://burningbush2.org/ August 2015  – Guest Editor Joseph Horgan

Read Full Post »

 

Bunker S. Lebanon, 1994. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

Bunker S. Lebanon, 1994. Photo: Michael J. Whelan

TANK

 (Civilians move to shelter in U.N. bomb shelters)

 

Thick black smoke

splutters out above the compound,

the beast is moving, ready to fire,

we hear it cough before seeing it

and the clanking of a metal monster on tracks,

exhaust clouds follow along the hill’s horizon

poisoning the sky behind the perimeter wire.

We know where it is – what it’s thinking

long before its deafening report

screams back across the valley,

sending the shaken to the underground.

 

 Michael J. Whelan

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

Read Full Post »

scarred landscape - Michael J. Whelan - 2014

scarred landscape – Michael J. Whelan – 2014

 

THE TRUCE

 

 

(Exactly one hundred years ago in 1914

the world was at war and the soldiers

believed it would all be over by Christmas)

 

 

 

All winter we fought to go home

and in the end we killed and they killed us,

a promise never kept.

Now it’s far too late, too late you see –

for the robins rest on frozen fists

in the great corpse trench,

snow blankets all the dead,

where every night we ran to ground

‘neath furrows of blood and guts

when thunder strafed down

devouring all our hearts,

before the midnight moon

picked out the forlorn path

above our little war,

between the trapping wire

where some brave lads ventured out

on hearing the Silent Night

cross over No Man’s Land’s red stains

of men where once men were;

and there they met between the gaps

to sing the chorus, kick a ball,

share rum and schnapps,

light candles in the dark,

until the Generals ordered – shoot that moon,

and new friends warred and maimed

but every dying soldier knew

it was  Christmas time at home.

 

Michael J. Whelan

 

 

Published in Tallaght ECHO newspaper (Christmas Supplement) 18 December 2014

Artwork: Michael J. Whelan

Read Full Post »

SEARCH AND DESTROY

 

‘They came in the night,’
Besa said, holding the buggy tight.
‘We were scared, hiding between
buildings and under floors.
We ran from house to house
through holes in walls,
it was dangerous to go through doors!

They burned our homes,
with our people inside,
and there by the stream,
see there is Mendi and Teki,
my cousins with the others
forming a hill of corpses
and in the old marketplace
you will see the broken cobbles
filled with blood.

I am alive – see, this is my child.
I covered her mouth with my hand
like this, till the shooting ended.
I am alive but I am not happy.’

 

Michael J. Whelan

Djakovica massacre – Kosovo –March 1999

Published in the Bloodaxe UK anthology THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR; MODERN WAR POEMS, edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Books (UK), 2014

Ethnic Cleansing - kosovo (Michael J. Whelan, 2001)

Ethnic Cleansing – kosovo (Michael J. Whelan, 2001)

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »