War Child



Revised version of a poem initially inspired by an article in Art Net News (just over a year ago) about the successful restoration of an early Michaelangelo sculpture of a young John the Baptist–pieced together from fragments after being severely damaged by anarchists during the Spanish Civil War. Also influenced by recent ITV news footage of families living under siege in Aleppo. (Image from Prado Museum website.)



Michaelangelo’s young baptist 

made whole–wounds tamped,

held upright with metal rods,

savage breaks now rendered as fine lines,

the scars of atrocity almost wiped clean

from the boy’s polished limbs.

Re-assuming a classical pose for all to see,

he breaks your heart–

and the same resilient spirit–as yet unbroken

seen in the faces of the very young,

as yet unshadowed–held close in a mother’s arms,

under the drifting grey snow of an Aleppo airstrike.

This boy of marble, a civil war survivor,

un-rubbled from an archive,

speaks directly to us,

a changeling from the ruins of chaos and distrust,

his sweet forehead and those wide-spaced eyes

bear the haunted expression of a Picasso waif

cherishing a dove.

War Child

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