A war; two sides, one by choice and one by force,
One of adults and the enemy just children,
A war which can only be stopped by society,
A war which will take lives
Whilst society closes its eyes.
A war I fought in and fight in daily,
One I was born into, and will die in,
A war between hate and love,
Darkness and light,
Hope and pain,
Cruelty and courage,
Guilt and innocence.
A war in which
I have held my dying child whilst life explodes around me,
Lost the babies I carried and loved,
Held the hands of tiny tortured children, like myself,
Laughed in the face of evil,
Been surrounded by heroes and so
Discovered a new meaning to ‘soldier’,
And have danced with death; with war itself.
I’ve stared down the barrel of a gun, and
Been powerless to others falling.
I have screamed and fought, fighting for the right
The right side, the right of children, the right of love
And the right of safety.
Where they chained me to a wall, and beat me for answers
I refused to give. I would not be forced into betrayal.
Spat in their face despite the object in their hand,
Bit their penis despite smelling the bleach
Which would soon choke and blister me.
A war where we all stood, watched the place burn.
Watched them burn.
So I continue to fight and watch their souls burn,
At the cost of my own broken soul.
It’s a cost I’m prepared to give.
With our bruised and swollen faces, the blood
Which was caked with dirt onto our skin,
Our skin a strange colour, always.
Some too weak to speak, whilst we cleansed their wounds.
Some to weak to open their eyes…
And I wept as I counted the limited risings of their chest.
And with the pride – they were never too weak to smile.
They took our tears, our strength, some of our lives.
But they never took our smiles and laughter.
And ultimately this is what wins this war.
Hope, love, joy, the ability to not just see darkness,
But to see the beautiful shards of light, however small.
A war where their dance was violent, cruel,
Uncontrollable. Paradoxical and unsettling.
Their dance of rage and fear, of demons which haunted them.
And our dance which was passionate, love-fuelled,
Tired but determined, filled with pain but courage.
We danced around them, a complex ballet
Whilst they tried to stamp us with their broken dance.
A war where I have stood in the middle of a battlefield,
The rain pouring down, and I have sobbed.
And yet a war where full of inspiring children,
Who never lost sight of their love, and
Hold my hand always.
Where the worst torture was being trapped in a coffin,
Would I be left to die? Would anyone find me?
Until you took my child.
Then nothing else mattered.
A war where their dance is there just to break us,
And our dance is there just to teach them
And free ourselves.
I will always feel the cold hand around my throat,
The corkscrew cutting me inside as you shoved it into me,
The ache in my shoulders from you dislocating them,
The dim bruises of my body.
The bleach and lighter in my throat,
The crippling pain of childbirth…
And the worst, heart-destroying pain of watching you take my child
Away from me, forever.
I will always feel that incredible pain and scream of agony in my chest,
Where you ripped my heart away as you took them,
And broke so much of me.
But I will also always remember this…
The smiles of the children, their soft breathing as they slept
Their joy at the moon, their gentle tiny hands,
Which softly cupped mine as I cried,
And mine cupped theirs in return.
I will remember their daisy chains,
I will remember their strength, their courage
Their hope and love.
Their smiles despite the horrors, pain, smell of death and dance of war around them.
And for that…I will win this war. My own life battle will be won by me.
And I won’t stop fighting until the whole war is over.
I will open the world’s eyes and we will save the children.
And you, monsters in the shadows, will lose this war once and for all.
Love and laughter will always conquer hate and cruelty.