War is Bad for Children

war is bad for children.
it demolishes their schools and poisons their education.
bombs fall through roofs, disrupting class, exploding teachers.
the only thing they learn here is how to hate and fear.
lesson plans can’t plan for the room being torn asunder.
doors and students burst open, walls crumble and dreams are lost
amongst the choking smoke and ashes. darkness falls in daytime.
crawling on knees under thick, deadly blankets of black
like toddlers, no matter their age. they are too old already.

war is bad for children.
it robs them of their youth and friends.
bombs rain from the sky as bullets soar through playgrounds,
taring playmates in two, leaving blood and bodies on the fields.
the only thing that grows in this garden is conflict.
children weren’t meant to play the game of ring around the road block.
soldiers pointing guns at the heads of kids, shouting fearful orders
in a foreign tongue, impossible to understand.
those who don’t move quick enough are shot. they die in the streets.

war is bad for children.
it eats their food and drinks their water.
whole lakes dry up when there’s not enough, and burning fields
breed violent reactions as those in need turn on each other,
only the strongest and most able survive. The takers take.
“Women and Children first!” shouts Death.
with shortage comes more violence to an already violent land.
entire villages burnt down, fields ruined and all the food gone.
more people die of hunger than are shot by the enemy.

war is bad for children.
it trades their health and welfare for gold.
war lords gain control of infrastructure, greedily getting fat on the backs of the dead.
any funds for doctors, medicine or schools are redirected for guns, troops and drugs.
what’s left stuffs the private coffers of those waging the war. profits soar.
what future can war be working for if its only priority is war?
sick, starved, damaged children are fixed with weapons
and given narcotic drugs. shipped off to kill, before they die.
a thin, teenage army of skeletons marching toward the horizon.

war is bad for children.
it leaves them damaged and scarred.
softly sobbing and dragging their crippled bodies through the muddy streets
they search for the safety of familiarity in an unrecognizable landscape
of catastrophe and murder, their minds to ill to realize their home is gone forever.
the place where they had once been youths is barren and abandoned now.
wandering through the dust of decay they talk softly to themselves.
quiet mumblings and whispers, asking questions without answers.
where has my home gone? why has this been done to me?

war is bad for children.
it leads their brothers and sisters to the slaughter.
kissing their sobbing families good bye in the night, shaking themselves free of life,
siblings slip off, with guns in hand, to go and fight the foe.
leaving behind the wreckage of a family who could not make them stay.
there is no illusion that they will return. they march to their graves.
aware of their fate but unable to turn from it, they pray
for their families more than themselves. for that is who they fight for.
hoping their simple sacrifice might save their loved ones’ lives.

war is bad for children.
it orphans them, leaving them loveless.
tearing the mothers breast from the infants mouth
and putting a bullet in the father’s brain. what mother gets is worse.
alone in the world, fending for themselves, they do what they can.
raised in gutters and nursed by rats, they weep, longing for a loving touch.
homeless, trampled in the streets they beg for food and shelter but receive none.
who can help them now? who’s responsibility are they now? who’s children are these now?
they are the children of war and if they survive, war is what they shall breed.

war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.
war is bad for children.



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