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Stuart McFarlane

Gaze on Gaza

Gaze on Gaza; and weep.

See the child in A and E,

the child, alone, in A and E.

See the man who stares,

the man who only stares.

See the woman who screams,

the woman who only screams.


The bloody bandage, discarded limb,

the blasted street, all rubble.

Thick smoke billowing; low down

a tepid sun that strains to shine.


See another bloodied child,

the mother who still screams,

and a father who only stares.

See what may not be unseen.

Try, if you can, to avert your eyes.

Gaze on Gaza.

Gaze on Gaza. And weep. 

At the time of 'Apartheid' in South Africa


On the TV a bloke said that he would not be prepared

to support the fight against 'Apartheid';

would not be prepared to sacrifice his job

for the sake of some blacks in some far away country.

His tone was indignant.

He made it sound like a principled position.

'After all,' he argued. 'it's their own fault.

Why didn't they build up their country?

Why did they need white men to do it for them?

Why did they let themselves be oppressed?'

He seemed intoxicated by his own questions.

He hadn't realized he was quite so clever.

'Because they haven't got it in them. That's why!

Not like us whites!'

He was getting into his stride now.

'We went over there and, in no time at all,

made the country what it is today.'

The microphone moved on now.

He had had his moment in the sun.

That was his opinion. He was entitled to express it.

And in a way, of course, it was true.

We have made the country what it is today.

It was difficult to argue with the grim logic of his argument.

If it was not for the oppressed there would be no oppressors.

If it was not for the victim there would be no murderer.

Stuart McFarlane was born in 1954. He has spent many years, both abroad and in the UK, teaching English. In the UK this mainly involved teaching ESOL to refugees and asylum seekers. He is now semi-retired and so can devote more time to writing poetry. He has had a few poems published in local magazines and in online publications such as Borderless Journal, based in Malysia, and Culture Matters, based in the UK.

By any other name 


Now the school of semantics is fully enrolled,  

we begin to believe the lies we’re being sold. 

‘Proportional response’. ‘Collateral damage’. 

‘It’s a situation we feel we can manage’.  

Politicians, as ever, so sensible,  

queue up to defend the indefensible. 

The Israelis freely act without constraint. 

The Americans continue to urge restraint.   

Schools, housing, hospitals; all are destroyed, 

yet, still, euphemistic terms are employed.  

Artillery posts now even have trouble 

finding a building to reduce to rubble.  

And, as Gaza withers, festers and rots  

the diplomats tie themselves up in knots. 

‘Not a ceasefire, a humanitarian pause’.   

Treating the symptoms, not the underlying cause. 

But Israel miscalculated, and crossed a red line, 

in denying the idea of a Palestine. 

For an idea does not so easily die; 

all the dead children of Gaza so testify. 

How can the fighting now ever cease?    

There’s not the faintest prospect of peace. 

By conducting such a senseless war 

they've only ensured centuries more. 

You can justify anything, if you try hard enough 

but, deep down, do we realize, it’s all so much guff. 

So, don’t pretend, as you kill, wound and maim, 

it's not murder; by any other name. 



It's strange; about work, I mean.

You work for a number of years

and potential employers are impressed

by your substantial experience.

'You're just what we're looking for.

An asset to the company.

Welcome on board.'

So you work a few more years,

and all that experience just

keeps accumulating.

Till one day they call you in,

say how sorry they are

to let you go;

how, despite all your years

of experience,

now you're just too old for the job.

bedroom tax
Sheriff Stars

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle
Disrupt and Upset

Militant Thistles

prickling the politics of "permanent austerity"

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