“The Children of Aleppo”

Children of Aleppo pix

For OLN on dversepoets.com hosted by Lillian.

I was watching a PBS program of Holmes, and the “White Helmets”, the men who excavate the ruins looking for survivors of the bombings by Assad, etc.  They call for body bags and bag body parts.  The toll on their lives in all ways, and those of the people is immeasurable.

Lady Nyo

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?

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

20,000 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, 2016-2018





12 Responses to ““The Children of Aleppo””

  1. lillian Says:

    Oh Jane………this is heart breaking and forces me, readers, to see what ravages humanity has brought to this part of the world…to too many parts of the world. The refrain is haunting. The imagery disturbing, as it should be.
    Thank you for posting to the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Lillian. I pondered posting this poem as I did want to feel more upbeat, but I just can’t right now. This program of the White Helmets just rocked me. I am also preparing for back surgery shortly and pain goes with sorrow. Suffer the little children, indeed.


  3. memadtwo Says:

    It seems there will be no ending to this sorrow. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ladynyo Says:

    No, it doesn’t seem so. And also in Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. memadtwo Says:

    All over the world, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Frank J. Tassone Says:

    A heartwrenching poetry of witness, so effectively told through the voice of children whose childhood was sacrificed on Mars’ altar. I saw that 60 minutes special on the white helmets. Devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Frank Hubeny Says:

    Very well described. I like the reference to ‘family death’ and I can see how such an environment would motivate such desires. Also the repetition of the desire for ice-cream emphasizes what a child in a healthy environment should desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thanks, Frank. I wrote this in a rush after seeing a PSB program of the children in Aleppo. This poem was formed before I had time to think about it, and in some cases, it works and that is proper. Thank you so much for reading and your comment. Saw the program on the White Helmets and it broke my heart. We an so easily demonize Muslims, and when I saw this program, it brought me up short. These men are heroes of the deepest level. They could leave, move their families out of the danger, but they don’t. We have no idea of what war brings.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you,Frank. I was heart broken watching that program. It also made me think how I have been just knee jerkingly viewing Muslims. These men are heroes. I have the greatest respect for this sacrifice, and they also sacrifice the safety of their families for a great love.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) Says:

    I actually think that all the lost childhoods that have been made will be a fertile soil for the next wave of misdeads… and the next… unless we act now rebuilding cities and childhoods.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ladynyo Says:

    “How do you put back the brains in the shattered cup of the skull”. How do you stop these wars? I have no answers anymore. Thank you, Bjorn for reading and your thoughtful comment.


  12. Anonymous Says:

    Forrest Dekorte

    For OLN on dversepoets.com hosted by Lillian. I was watching a PBS program of Holmes, and the


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