A Sonnet for Kim Phuc

Childhood memories

contain

agonising pain

flashbacks

the smell

of burning

skin

burnt cask

holds this

child within

frightened

running naked

from airborne

attack

napalm covering

body where

summer dress

use to be

shouting loudly

please help me

surrounded

by astounded

staring eyes

kindness of

a strange

her only hope

medical staff

surrendering

thought this

innocent child’s

tiny body

would not cope

devoured by

red hot flame

the shock

to her system

complete overload

dismissed as dead

sent to

the morgue

death hanging

over her head

questioning

why she was born

waiting to die

flesh

painfully coloured

with a

different shade

inked bloody red

constantly

greeted by

tear filled

helpless eyes

Kim Phuc

survived

the Vietnam war

a victim

of circumstance

another inhuman

accordance

no child stood

a chance

media found a

treasure

sympathy interviews

containing disguised

propaganda

tragedy sells

newspapers

no-one interested

in hearing her

voice

too hideously

ugly to be loved

dreams of hopeful

future destroy

victimisation

revisited not

out of choice

understandable

hatred

bitterness

and anger

become the

subjects she

was given

to learn

solace found

inside leather

bound books

hiding within

the library walls

to shut away

hideous looks

time heals

only with

an element of

courageous

inner strength

bravery

absolution

compassion to

pardon those

who stole away

her childhood

to find peace

to hold

forgiveness

her chosen solution

not to remain

a photography

in countless

history books

learning to live

with her

disfigured looks

Kim Phuc

I will never

meet you

we are about

the same age

your story

inspires me

fills me with

fury and rage

along with

admiration

for your

everlasting

determination

not to live

your life within

a victimisation

may you be

remembered

may your

light forever

shine

lest we all

forget this

unspeakable

war crime.

 

MM c2015

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