Tuesday, 11 February 2014


I once stood in a market place surrounded by people, who had just fled a nearby village. They carried whatever they had been able to grab before they had been forced from burning homes, they were almost all women and children.

I was part of a small team and we were very much on our own. After a while things got quite unpleasant and we were forced to withdraw. The strange thing about that day is that the events which inspired the following poem where the most pleasant, yet harrowing, part of that day.

I hope you like the poem.


They stand in front of me
wide hollow eyes search my soul.
Grubby faces, ragged clothes, empty eyes.
Itchy fingers point,
the word "puška" comes again.
In my hands it's a tool of the trade;
yet their young eyes have seen,
their young ears have heard
and their, so very young lives, have lost.
I reached into my pocket
pulled out marbles and squatted.
There in the dust we played.
That day I lost a few marbles,
learned the word "puška"
and the hollow eyes still haunt me.

John Carré Buchanan
10 February 2014

* Puška - Rifle


  1. Bosnia? when I did my teacher training, one of the schools I trained in was a downtown school in which there were a lot of refugees from Bosnia Herzogovinia. I remember one of these teenage girls saying to another girl, born and raised in Vancouver, she couldn't believe she had never seen someone killed in front of her or watched someone die. That was a horrible conflict and so pointless, as indeed most such things are. Lovely poem by the way. A touching reminder of what is lost in war, and who is most hurt by it. You should consider it for the contest this month!

    1. Andy,Thank you. Yes, it was Bosnia. The children's fascination with our rifles was what hit me, perhaps it was that the SA80 looked so space age (or plasticky) when compared with the AK. Everywhere we went children wanted to look at it.
      As for the schools, I have lived in deserted school houses during a number of conflicts, education and innocence always seems to be amoung the first casualties of war.
      I'm glad you like the poem, as The judge I can't enter the Poem on a Photo Competition, perhaps we will have to have a guest judge some time.

  2. Great poem John, really liked this one, very tense

    1. Ian, thank you, I'm glad you liked it.

  3. Well done John. As usual you tell the story so well.

    1. Thank you Janet, your comment is very much appreciated.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.