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Two popular and long-established collections of  war poetry of the
First World War

Minds at War
A comprehensive
anthology of poetry of the First World War. All the greatest war poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and war poems of over 70 other notable poets. All set in the context of the poets' lives and historical records. With historic photographs and cartoons.  Edited by David Roberts.
 400 pages £15-99 (UK)

Out in the Dark
Anthology of
First World War poetry recommended for students and the general reader.
19 poems by
Wilfred Owen
, 27 by Siegfried Sassoon and over 90 more war poems by 45 significant poets including women writers. Contextual information and basic notes on many poems. Illustrated.  Edited by David Roberts.
185 pages - £10-99 (UK)

Falklands War Poetry cover



Cheryl L. Daytec-Yangot

Cheryl L. Daytec-Yangot is a human rights lawyer and activist, poet and an associate professor in Saint Louis University in the Philippines. She is also currently a fellow of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Her poems have been published in poetry journals and books in the Philippines and abroad.
May 2011.

child victims of war

Cry of the Innocent
I have not fully died

Go search the wreckage
Of the war shrived of cause
Find my shivering ghost
Singing dreams of peace
Weeping not for myself
But for you
Who lost your sanity
In the haze of power

I have been made
To shed blood
One among many children
Who never understood
The language of war
Who cannot fathom
Why flower fields
Become grounds of madness
Why innocence is slain
In the name of peace

My ghost waits
With other ghosts
Of children
Hear my cry
Meld in chorus
With theirs
Let the chorus
Of our sorrow
Lacerate indifference
And illusions of infallibility
Our death keeps us
Young forever
In the memories of those
Who will remember us
But we have grown old
The moment blood seeped out
Of our young bodies
We know this war you fight
More than you do

In our graves
We have kept our bearings

In your madness for power
You have lost it.

Cheryl Daytec

Footnote To The Gaza Assaults
The coppices and orchards became graveyards
Fashioned like desolation, their color is violence
Flowers for all seasons have been stunted, wilted
What sprouts from battlefields but odious hate
Whose thirst is quenched not by water but blood
Yearning not for sunshine but the yawning torment

Of butchered innocence, sprawled on power‘s dais?
The tarnished ground is drenched with forlorn tears
Of parents orphaned by babies who just outgrew cribs
Become ghosts probing the scruples of the world
Watching the gripping horror in imposed stillness
The grime of perversion thickens on its inutile hands

Silence cannot be golden when it is limpid sanction
Of evil randomly pushing buttons of death machines
Another great flood will not sluice the world’s guilt
Countenance in silence is as vile as pulling triggers
Of armaments trained to kindergarten playgrounds
Do not ask who answers for the bloodbath. Ask how

Silence can be drowned by the protest of conscience

Cheryl Daytec

The Children of Gaza, Lying in Pools of Their Own Blood
(Footnote To The Gaza Bombings II)

They never heard
the soothing sound of music
In the Palestine air
Their days and nights were filled
With rattling guns
And muffled weeping of parents
They saw the shape of freedom
In the occasional flight
Of birds in their skies cast
In the gloom of violence

As other children waited
for Santa Clause’s gifts
The specter of their dreams
Levitated from their bodies
As they fell to the bullets
Of power that knows not
A terrorist wielding a gun
From a child playing
With a doll or a toy car

Their bodies have gone
To cemeteries
Or in rubbles
The reach of shovels and hands
But their dream for freedom
Did not join them in the graves
It clings thick to the air of doom

Their last cries
Not comprehending the bloodbath
Their desire to soar free
Like eagles
Found their way into our pens
From ashes of carnage,
The dream will surge
Like time-worn slavery
Cutting loose from its chains
One day,
The world will know
Who The Chosen are among us
The lie we cradled
In ignorance
Will be clear as day
The graveyard full of infants
Shouts the truth

God would not arm His
people with bombs and guns
To slaughter the innocent

Cheryl Daytec

Death for Liberty
(In memory of Rachel Corrie)
I have gone, but my spirit stays
Not mine to own like my body
It belongs to a drawn-out struggle
That refuses to succumb
To guns on children’s heads
To power unleashed by the Devil
To bulldozers that turn homes into graveyards
To a false ideology that believes
God is the Commander-in-Chief
of the army of racism
of hatred
of genocide

We fall…on our blood, on our grief
But from them you rise
Like the waves at sea
I, those before me, those after me
We live… still, because we never really died
Flesh decays; a revolution does not
We lend our death to the force of life
flowing through the veins of a struggle
against chains
against walls
against invisibility
Let our death add to the heat in the fire
crawling through the darkness
ruled by the iron hand of ruthlessness
that feeds on the poverty of a people’s spirit
that drinks from the spring
of apathy and surrender

Let our spirit live in the slogans
We have died
That the world may see the picture
Hidden under layers of untruth
That the walls may crumble down
That the gates may open

We have died
That liberty may live.

Cheryl Daytec

The Boys Under Indictment
(for Dodo)
An average of 9,000 Palestinians are prosecuted in two Israeli military courts in the West Bank each year, among them an average of 700 children, some of them as young as 12.
-Maan News Agency, 2 November 2009

While they were sleeping
Under covers of innocence
You abstracted their dreams
Of legends that spring from grandmothers’ laps
The smell of milk from their mothers’ breasts
The fishing trips with their fathers
Eager to see their sons grow into men
You smuggled nightmares
Into the depth of their slumbers
Screaming they awoke in the night
The lullabyes were drowned
By exploding bombs and shouts of rage
Infancy leapt past midmorning
Into the burning heat of an angry noon

Tell me: How does a three year old
Come to comprehend death
Before he knows how to count his age?
How does a boy learn to pull the trigger of a gun
Before his hand can write his name?
Why does he know the killing fields so well
But does not know how a karaoke bar looks?

I see tired old men in young boys’ gawky bodies
March slowly till they disappear inside prison walls
Shadows fading away from the wall
When the lights are turned out suddenly
Helpless without the guns thrust into their arms
By your politics strange to conscience
Victims who must suffer the guilt
Of boundless power that bloodshed never sates.

To A People’s Warrior Returning to Battle
The clarion call sounded; You are not ours
Despair’s hope owns you. You stand before us
Carrying all you own in a battered backpack
Well-worn clothes and your dream that the cries
Of penury in the masses’ favela will sojourn
The yield of peasants’ sweat will fill their plate
Mothers in an infinite line of mothers will stop
Burying sons and daughters in an eternal line
Of sons and daughters who perished while passing
Through the less-traveled road you keep treading
With resolute gait, overriding humps and thorns
Our solace - the road you took is the right one
No one gets lost; the road is light to dark paths

You leave us clinging to the dreams you take
For our desperate hopes mirror your own
Off to the far edge you go beyond this line
Across the landscape, hidden by dark clouds
Or, at times, by blinding rays of sinister light
With eagerness, there wait promise of safety
Blending artlessly with the threat of danger,
Like a drop of rain in a barrel of thick oil
Hope claimed you; your death is its sorrow
But a mother’s fear for your life is so heavy
That the promise of survival seems light in it
Who knows? You chose a life of uncertainty
For aspirations as certain as the light of day

Our words stammer through unsaid goodbyes
Later, we will stand on the verandah and wave
Till your figure disappears with the dusty road
For the moment let me hold you tight, so tight
It may be our last touch, before your final war.

Cheryl Daytec

For K. Ole
Reflections on Fahrenheit 9/11
I can smell the raw tangy scent
of will drying in my hand
I see the shape of dreams
Escaping the bowels of the fields
Like a thick swirl of smoke from a
Tire factory’s chimney
What is life but a flash of light
A bomb can easily put out
Until no one hears a town’s last cry?
No one listens to the orphans’ prayers
Having seen too much, too early
even infants know the meaning of mortality
For life is but a slave
To a conscience run amok
For the price of every drop
of blood of the innocent
is a heavy pocket from firearms
and napalm bombs
“No war, no weapons business!
No mutilation, no murder!
No murder, no war!”
Grand dreams weaved in the brains
Of small bodies
Barely out of the womb
Become evanescent shades of themselves.

Cheryl Daytec

Link to more poems about Palestine

Cheryl Daytec  Website: http://smorgasbordandothers.blogspot.com