Iraqi Boys

This poem, in a revised version here, was first written in January of 2003 for Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War website, for which I was also a volunteer editor. See also “Beating about the Bush” and “O President, My President.” Also published in Afagando a Face de Lorca [Stroking Lorca’s Face], edited by Francisco José Craveiro de Carvalho, Lajes do Pico, Portugal: Companhia das Ilhas [Island Company], 2020, pages 180 (English) and 181 (Portuguese translation by the editor).       +       +       +

 

The Iraqi boy bouncing a ball

in his schoolyard

knows nothing of the wind

of falling bombs.

 

Too young to know the crude cost of oil,

he does not recall

the liberation that cost him

his uncles’ lives and limbs.

 

I hope that he might die

only of old age,

and live to buy his grandchildren

their own red rubber balls.

Os miúdos iraquianos

O miúdo iraquiano a bater a bola

no pátio da escola

nada sabe sobre o vento 

que as bombas criam ao caírem.


É muito novo para conhecer o preço bruto do petróleo, 

não se lembra

da libertação que lhe custou

as vidas e os membros dos tios.


Espero que possa morrer

apenas de velhice

e viver para comprar aos netos

as suas bolas de borracha encarnadas.