Poem written by Marion Layberry O.B.E.
A summer’s day, crowned by an azure sky – the children playing in the fields and lanes, their laughter echoing through sparkling air, the joy of living coursing through their veins.
Then in the distant blue, a speck appears – a tiny dot which grows and takes on form.
Before their watching eyes a shape grows clear – A shape that surely cannot cause them harm.
‘Look Mum, I see a cross up in the sky’ – with stifled scream Mum throws me to the ground.
The spluttering sound of engines splits the air – and then a deathly silence all around – And suddenly there is bone-shaking noise – the earth erupts, and everything is black. And later, people celebrate because – only one person died in that attack.
‘They call them doodlebugs’, my mother said – ‘they’re bombs that fly for miles, all on their own’…
The child in me will never put aside the memory of the siren’s wailing tone – the spluttering engine noise, the gripping fear, or in the silence feeling so alone…….
And since that time, there have been many wars – some known to us, some hidden from our sight –
But all have at their core the suffering of children who no longer play in light.
Their mothers, sisters, teachers – all have gone; they’re left alone to find their darkened way –
Safety evaporated in the flames – they search in vain for some security.
All rootless, broken, homeless and afraid – exposed to exploitation and to vice –
Children whose lives deserve a way ahead …. whose task will be to show the way to peace.
And years go by – mankind goes blindly on, with countless children playing in the street,
Who hear thevile drone of hostile planes – engines of war, the sound of mindless hate….
Their screams of agony have reached our ears, but still it seems we cannot stop the pain.
And well we know that children suffer most, when mankind thinks of naught but selfish gain.
We see them running, playing in the fields – but then the earth explodes beneath their feet –
Mines laid to maim and kill unwary men – but children are the ones who meet that fate.
Not just one death, but thousands through the years. So innocent they are of any crime –
We make them victims of our hate and greed …… and leave cruel scars upon the face of time.
Marion Layberry O.B.E.
Copyright © Marion Layberry