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THE VILLAGE CHILDREN

Children with un-round eyes
running from the village
with weeping sores and
yellow tinge of malaria,
greeting the soldiers
from the utter ends
of the earth.

Barely weaned from the breast
and calling in unison,
give us a smoke Tan-Tay Lahn
and sitting in perpetual movement
at the soldiers' feet
weighing up the chances
for nimble fingered larceny.

Wisdom beyond their years
reflected from their eyes,
sitting on the padi bunds
smoking like the village elders,
with no understanding of future
or the moment of their war,
but wanting to loot the riches.

Today we would pass around
a cardboard carton, collecting
the cans of food given with compassion;
and starting a riot in the meantime,
as their parents booted away
with considerable violence
the ravening cubs.

Tomorrow on their bicycles
the innocent children
would toss grenades at us,
playing cowboys and Indians
as they ran the road block;
no pity from the hard-eyed men
who yesterday gave cigarettes,
today the bullets of democracy.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR

 

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