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  • Writer's pictureKaren Weber

Sweet Baby James in Gaza

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

This poem was in response to PBS News Hour footage after an Israeli air raid in Gaza.

The very personal response I had was to the image of a baby still only able to sit up, softly calling for his mother as she lay near him, now a corpse, as two Israeli soldiers guns in hands stood by.

Your shining head, and wide open stare.

You, a round figure, appearing lit

in a shadowed room.

Your tiny lips barely opened,

a double syllable barely heard,

and still the attempt, with that single word,

to resurrect the huddled form beside you,

to orchestrate the silence around you.

You were there before me, only moments.

An older woman now, no children of my own.

I looked into the windows of your eyes,

dark, unshuttered,

and saw a river glistening in the night

river of rage

river of grief.

I longed to reach through time and space,

anchor you in the cove of my arms,

and whisper,

“Rockabye, sweet baby boy.

You can close your eyes.

It’s alright.”

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