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