“The Children of Aleppo”, for dversepoets

Lady of Shallot rose


The Children of Aleppo


There is no childhood in Aleppo.

There are little martyrs-in-the-making

Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds

Wish for a ‘family death’

Where they can die together

With their parents

Where they live in peace in Heaven

Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth.


There is no childhood in Aleppo.

The children haunt the abandoned houses

Of friends who have fled the city.

There they find abandoned teddy bears

While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.


A dead canary in his cage

Abandoned by its owners

They flee the rockets, bombs

And mortars.

In the face of daily death

The sight of this bird

Evokes a child’s sorrow.

The gunfire outside continues

(They are used to the noise)

And huddle in the pockmarked

Halls until safe to scatter.



The children of Aleppo

Have no teachers, doctors.

These have fled the cities, schools

But they still pine for ice cream,

For music in the streets,

For curtains not torn by violence,

For books and toys

And gardens and flowers,

For friends that have not died

Innocent blood splattering

The dirty cobble stones

At their feet.


The children of Aleppo

Are free and children again

Only in their dreams,

And perhaps, if you believe so,

After death.


How do you put back the brains

Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?

How do you soothe the howls of the mothers,

The groans of the fathers in grief?

How do you comfort surviving siblings?


The children of Aleppo

Have no future as children.

Suffer the little children.

They are the sacrifice of parents

And factions,

And politicians

All with the blood of

10,000 children

Who have died

In a country torn

By immeasurable violence.


The beautiful children of Aleppo

Like children everywhere

Still want to chase each other

In the gardens, on playgrounds,

Want to dance in the streets,

Want to pluck flowers for their mothers

And they still pine for ice cream.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016





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27 Responses to ““The Children of Aleppo”, for dversepoets”

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I really love how you moved the light towards the children who really suffer, the real horrors of the world, so much has been allowed to happen while the spotlight have been lit on an election. Still they are connected… very much connected.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Bjorn…yes they are, yes they are. The number is much higher than 10,000 now. By the way, this poem was rejected by The New Yorker….LOL! Well, I won’t try that again. I’ve learned my place. Will be back after dinner.. Hungarian Mushroom Soup tonight.


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    Hungry for Hungarian?


  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL!@ Yep…vampires all. Great food, but Hungarians die early from smoking and too much pork.


  5. Mother Willow Says:

    You expressed the sadness and loneliness of the children, they childhood stolen by crazy wars of the fathers. What a despicable world it creates. Your poem is very visual, broke my heart that I cannot do anything to console the those suffering like this. Great sentiment and beautifully written Jane. Enjoy your soup….


  6. whippetwisdom Says:

    Very poignant and fitting for what is happening in Aleppo right now whilst everyone is distracted by the election result. There is a lot of harrowing footage on twitter.


  7. Brian Says:

    It’s the New Yorker’s loss and our gain. Strong words for a horrendous situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Grace Says:

    I can’t imagine the horrors and that innocence taken from them ~

    A powerful share Jane, thank you for highlighting their flight ~

    By the way, Canada will take in the Yazidis women and folks who were enslaved and tortured by the ISIS ~ I pray they will find peace and hope in our country ~


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Grace, that’s good to know. The Yazidis’ have suffered extra blows by the ISIS. I pray all women and children….and the youth, are salvaged from this horrific war. Thank you for reading.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Brian. This poem wrote itself. I saw a tv program about children in Aleppo and within minutes, the horror of what I was seeing, made its way into a poem. These children were so beautiful, I was moved deeply at their resilience.


  11. thotpurge Says:

    Timely and strong… such a shame that the world stands by as children fall victim to politics and greed that they know nothing of. War is pure evil and horror and needs to stop..everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    years ago I lost my password to twitter account and only yesterday had to ‘reup’ because of a poetry group. Ah! The amount of children, any amount is horrific…these truncated little lives….they break my heart. Thank you, Xenia.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mother Willow! The soup was ok, but I put in too much sour cream…had to thin it out (for taste) with more bone broth. This is the second year (beginning) for crockpot bone broth and everyone eats it: cats, (8) dogs (4), stray cats down the block…(8) and the chickens get pulverized bones when they ate cooked enough. Everyone seems to be thriving. LOL!
    I saw this short tv program…and the poem just formed from the visuals. These beautiful children and you wonder if they are still alive? It breaks my heart too. Thank you, Mother Willow.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    Agreed here. It’s the children and animals that are slaughtered..the most defenseless. The fabric of this society will never be the same, regardless the end of the war.


  15. Bodhirose Says:

    There are just no words to express the total wasting of so many, many innocent lives. Really, I’m at a loss to understand how human beings can make choices to stoop so low…I mean the warring factions.


  16. Mother Willow Says:

    You sure have yourself a full household. Amazing pets. I never had a crockpot. Everyone tells me they are great. During Autumn and Winter, I love making one meal soups. Everything I have around goes into it. Good night Jane from my part of the world. Hélène


  17. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar Says:

    Heartbreaking. At the first “they still pine for ice cream” I had to pause – very profound, every line.


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Margaret. How can we answer the need of these children caught in a war that never seems to end?


  19. ladynyo Says:

    And Good Morning, Helene! Oh, do buy a crockpot, or steal one. They are wonderful! This one has been going everyday for two years now with bone broth. I need another one just for stews and soups! LOL! I’m with you during Autumn and Winter. Crockpots take the work out of cooking and they season your kitchen with the best of smells!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. ladynyo Says:

    I don’t know, Gayle. We are a miserable world of beings….except the innocent children.


  21. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    I think it’s one of the most beautiful things you’ve written – albeit so devastatingly sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary. The support that people here have given this poem goes a long way. It was rejected by The New Yorker recently, and that really stopped me in my tracks. I don’t especially understand what publications want, but the plight of children should be a warning to our ‘humanity’. I am haunted by these children. I wonder if they are still even alive?


  23. whippetwisdom Says:

    Sending love 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ladynyo Says:

    Maybe it was better to lose it! LOL! I can’t keep up and my eyes have gone blind with the nasties!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. whippetwisdom Says:



  26. Mother Willow Says:

    Well, then, you convinced me to get a crockpot. Good morning Jane, good day to you.


  27. ladynyo Says:

    And Good Morgan to you! A crock pot will significantly simplify any life!

    Liked by 1 person

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