Christmas 2023

My friend, will wars cease
on Christmas this year?

A divine Child was born
in the Middle East. Three
wise men carried gifts of
love. Was there peace?

Childhood spelt carefree
laughter and play. But now
children crouch as bombs
roar deafening ends to life.

And some living are shred
before their eyes to bits
of blood and flesh,
silenced out of life.

Who will live to sunset? To the
next sunrise? How many will stay?
Do they think —
Will my best friend be living
tomorrow? Will my father
be alive? My mother?
Will I live to reach adulthood?

Refat Alareer died in an airstrike,
leaving lines eternalising him for
you and me. He died, leaving
children to grieve his passing.

While we glorify his lines,
the dead, missiles endlessly
fly. Disputed, lies the bit of
land, fenced, gated where
the Child was born.

My friend, will the wars cease
on Christmas this year?

“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori” [1]

1. Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum est, written in 1918 during World War 1 and published posthumously in 1920

Mitali Chakravarty founded an online site which has published its first hard copy anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World. She has recently brought out her first collection of poetry, Flight of Angsana Oriole: Poems and has an earlier book of humorous essays on living in China where she spent eight years, In the Land of DragonsRead other articles by Mitali.