Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"To a boy raped at Abu Ghraib Prison" by Sonya Linkov

They pinned your nerves out on the screen
Curled you in formaldehyde, small singularity
Bound you with sinews, pulled ends in a bow
And sold and re-sold you, gift and discardment,

To us at half-price with the evening bulletin.
Glued together; propped up; not quite human.
One ambidextrous hand, or rather a paper bag
Over a face more interesting to this sideshow.

Should we mourn you? The advent of disgust
Tainted such thoughts, besides it wasn't our duty.
Yet somehow, the accusation when it caught us
Had to scream, because our heads were bowed.

How could we dare to disregard the women? You
Became a small passing, smothered in suffering.
The burqas soared like terrible birds as the sun
Forgot you, and a fence imprisoned the wind

And needles pierced our lips to silence. Unlike you
-Apologies, the women - we had never learnt
The language of rape. And still we chose to stay
At this funeral, this circus, this ever causeless rally.

We know rapes are undemanding. They refuse
Toys, obey a skilled keeper, propagate so easily.
Have few qualms on diet. Mouths necklaced
With saliva, they roar like African cats: Meat!

One chanced to find you, beneath that bloody sun...
We swarmed; we lapped your cloud of shame,
We thought a virgin's blood, the purest of the pure
Once spilled, could heall all ills. So why did yours

Have such a bitter taste? Had it been sullied by
The rust upon the scale we chose to weigh it on?
Your frailty on one side, the women on the other:
The only way we knew. Perhaps, it would be best

To let your blood-wings fly you to the women.
They would cradle your teardrop-heavy head
And stroke it through that egocentric spasm when
Amidst human dust and city shards, you dared

To pray for a shroud.


  1. Good piece, kynda hectic. I'm not really one who takes the time to understand poetry. Nevertheless I'd like to know why you targeted muslims in particular because as a muslim I can find no other reason save for prejudice. Mysogonism, paedophilia and shovanism are unjustified and undeserved stereo-types of a generally misunderstood scape-goat religion. Please do provide backing for your choice of discrimination.

  2. Very well done I love the seriousness of the situation you really feel the emotions and actions and feel genuine sorrow for the boy.

    It takes a stab at the real issue`s and happenings in the world, a great poem and amazing eye opener.

  3. Thank you, Michael/Anon :)

    Adam, I was on Cederberg, plus this is the third time I've tried to reply to you, but none of my comments came through, so please don't think I was ignoring you.

    I am NOT discriminating against Muslims. The rapist was an American soldier, not a Muslim. Today, Abu Ghraib is commonly associated with the atrocities committed by a group of American soldiers against Iraqi prisoners, and not with Saddam Hussein.

    I agree with you that Islam is a scape-goat religion, and that was what I was trying to say - people of other cultures cannot see past the women in burkas and and a handful of suicide bombings, but are blind to the actions of their own soldiers. Prejudice, fuelled by the media, keeps us from seeing the real issues, and leads us to look for scapegoats in order to justify unjustifiable things.

    That was what I was trying to say. If you got the impression that I was discriminating against your culture, I'm sorry that I didn't make myself clear enough. That was the opposite of my true intentions.

    Sonya Linkov.

  4. Your poem is amazingly sad and beautiful. However i sence a bit of humor would you say your poem intends to be 3/4 serious and 1/4 humor..?

  5. Anon2, it pleases me that you picked that up - I tried to include a bit of dark humour, and I was not entirely sure whether or not I had succeeded. Thanks for your comment!