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War Poems 2006

Poems presented to The War Poetry website in 2006

Poems and poets on this page

Leo Yankevich - Irish/Polish/American - No Flowers, No Doves The July Sun Over Lebanon

Arbab Sikandar - Mandi Bahahuddin Pakistan - From 9/11 to Iraq, Being In Nothingness

Héber Vicente Bensi - Wars

Yousaf Mukhtar  - medical student - 15 minuets on the news

Hubert Wilson - US veteran - The Wars of Kenny Marchant and George W. Bush

Andrew Grossman - US, Detainee poems 

Jason Shelton - serving in Iraq - Soldiers' Memories

David Roberts  -  Kill or cure

For more modern war poems see the drop-down menu below "Modern" above.





No Flowers, No Doves

When we entered the burning city
charred corpses greeted us.
A child's hand dangled from a scorched tree
and the twisted wreckage of a bus
mocked the stillness of the sky.
Gunner gagged, Ski scratched his head, 
neither understanding why
he had to liberate the dead. 

Leo Yankevich



The July Sun Over Lebanon 

She hears bombs raze the nunnery. 
She hears F-16s on their way 
back to Israel, to reload 
new bombs sent from America. 
Blinding smoke burns in her eyes 
and shrouds the limbs of terrorists, 
boys and girls from grammar school 
who in the spring first learned to count. 

Leo Yankevich



About Leo Yankevich, from Wikipedia

Leo Yankevic

A critic, editor, poet and translator associated with The New Formalist movement, Leo Yankevich was born into a family of Roman Catholic Irish-Polish immigrants on October 30, 1961. He grew up and attended high school in Farrell, PA, a small steel town in the Rust Belt of middle America. He then studied History and Polish Literature at Alliance College, Cambridge Springs, PA, receiving a BA in 1984. Later that year he travelled to Poland to begin graduate study at the centuries-old Jagiellonian University in Krakow. A staunch anti-communist, he played an active role in the dissident movement in that country, and was arrested and beaten badly on a few occasions by the communist security forces. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, he decided to settle permanently in Poland. Since that time he has lived in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), an industrial city in Upper Silesia.


Books by Leo Yankevich

The Language of Birds; Pygmy Forest Press, 1994
Grief's Herbs (translations after the Polish of Stanislaw Grochowiak); The Mandrake Press, 1995
The Gnosis of Gnomes; The Mandrake Press, 1995
Epistle from The Dark; The Mandrake Press, 1996
The Golem of Gleiwitz; The Mandrake Press, 1998
'"The Unfinished Crusade"; The Mandrake Press, 2000
"The Last Silesian"; The Mandrake Press, 2005
"Metaphysics" by Leo Yankevich
"You Who Live And Hear" by Leo Yankevich*

Two Poems by Arbab Sikandar

(Mandi Bahahuddin, Punjab, Pakistan) 

From 9/11 to Iraq

A man broke a windowpane 
Of a very big house
In retaliation
The house of the neighbor 
Of the so called culprit
Was devastated 
And, then, taken over
By the owner of that big house
This is the twenty first century justice!

Arbab Sikandar Gondal


Being In Nothingness

Do you know the moments?
When life turns into nothingness
It's when a nation wages a war against another one
It's when a child dies of hunger in Africa
And co called activists talk about animal rights!
It's when humans kill each other
In the name of God!
Against the very spirit of their own religions!
It's when injustice and discrimination prevail
Based on skin colour and beliefs!
It's when masses are hoodwinked
By the propaganda machinery of their own elected Masters
It's when your beloved ones set off
To an endless voyage and invincible destination
And you can not help it!

Arbab Sikandar Gondal



The war becomes incandescent the brain,
In the to resound of the myths and legends,
The died appears behind the mirrors...
Saying that in war all lose.

Poets bleed trying to shout,
Expelling messages ignored,
Asking for peace and future,
But to the money the lords point...

And the money points all to the war!

Goldsmithery, how much is this gun?
Why it is in poor countries...
Where food the people can't buy?

Héber Vicente Bensi Bensi

15 Minutes on the News

15 minutes on the news
devoted to a 'crisis'
of great magnitude.

We hear, watch
But do we listen, see
and will we feel
their new found freedom

as the bombs drop around them?
as the fear surrounds them?
as the F16s hound them?
all the bloodshed about them?
all the killing, murder, death besieging them?

we turn away,
resume with our lives
After all
we are dead inside.

Mute/silent witnesses,
To a crime
Where innocence dies.
Every day
The fresh blood of children screams out
replacing their voices
Every day
A piece of our hearts rots away
every day

Are we deaf
to a child or a mother's cry?
Ask yourself why?

The collateral damage of Qana
Precision targeting
Of defenceless women and children
as we, the whole of mankind
watch on
muted voices,
while the stench of the burnt flesh
of children covers us.

Why do the children have to die?
Ask yourself why?

15 minutes on the news
generations of destruction
Turn the channel over
we have seen enough

Yousaf Mukhtar, 
Third Year medical student

The Wars of Kenny Marchant and George W. Bush

[Kenny Marchant is a US Congressman] 

Hiding during the Vietnam War!
You are now both supporters of Iraq gore!
Perfectly content,
Others' lives to be spent!
Course America now must stay!
Real American values you both betray!
Into another hopeless morass!
Totally ignoring your own obscure Vietnam pasts!
Expect history not to be kind!
Sidestepping Vietnam service to later have America maligned!

Hubert Wilson,

1 November  06

A son, a brother, a husband, a father, a US veteran


Detainee #193993s

I live in the seventh cell.
I burn in the seventh hell.
I rise at the seventh bell.
Allah free the soul.
Allah free the soul.
Free me from the jailer’s smell.
Spread the Word I cannot tell.
Allah free the soul.

Andrew Grossman, 2006

Detainee #393463c


I am a tiger.
In a leap of fire
I break your limbs
One by one.
Far from anger,
Disarmed by strength,
I wait for time
To undo you.


Once more I write you a letter
Regarding the sparrows you sent last year.
The birds wake me each morning,
Squawking and snapping their beaks.
I have dreams of out wheeling the rain,
But when sleep is denied me, I see the mistake.
Tightly held stillness keeps me alive.
Please consider taking back your gift.

Andrew Grossman



Detainee #225841x

Sometimes a man stands during interrogation
And walks toward the door, and keeps on walking
Into a courtyard that stands somewhere in the East.
And his family one day hears that he has died
And say blessings on his memory.
And another man, who remains inside the room,
Stays inside the torture and the terror.
His family has to go far into the world to find him
And when they do, he breaks in their arms.
His smile of stone keeps on walking.

Andrew Grossman


Detainee #096422p

What my heart will be is a tower,
And I will be right out on its rim:
Nothing else will be there, only pain
And what can’t be said, only the world.
Only one thing left in the enormous space
That will go dark and then light again,
Only one final face full of longing,
Exiled into what is always full of thirst,
Only one farthest-out face made of stone,
At peace with its own inner weight,
Which the distances, who go on ruining it,
Force on to deeper holiness.

Andrew Grossman


Soldiers' Memories

2003 has been and gone but the memories are always there.
Here life still goes on just the same,
Every morning when we wake the faces are there with us, 
the smells are strong, 
our silent companions, our new brothers in arms.
Who do we tell? 
No one, 
after all, we are soldiers, aren't we?
Its 2006 and still the suffering continues:
Baghdad, Al Basrah, Al Amarah, An Nasiriyah, Al Shaibah,Safwan, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, London... 
Is it all just in our heads?

If we forget who will remember 
or who will care?

No one.

Jason Shelton, British soldier
June 2006

Kill or cure

What do we know?
What do we know 
about anything?

We only live in this town.
We know nothing.
Politicians know everything.

Hello, lady,
do you have time to kill?
Our government does.

Kill or cure.
That's the choice.
which do you want?

You can use your voice.

Money for war 
or money for life.

Accident? Emergency?
Where will you go?

"They are closing the hospital. "

Well oh dear,
Oh dear!

Money for health
or money for war?

Does anyone know
what we're fighting for?

David Roberts
14 September 2006.

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