Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

Lost Playgrounds

by Gabrielle Lockwood

How vulnerable is this world,
Where an innocent field becomes a deathtrap.
Children who once played without a thought,
Now rummage for metal they can sell as scrap.
The "Secret War"'s over but is still being fought,
Even today, more than thirty years later,
For the destruction lies so much deeper,
Than that visible bomb crater.
Unexploded ordnance in abundance,
Is scattering the land, 
Steeling the fields from the farmers,
And taking food from the hand.
So here's the truth about Laos:
It's the most heavily bombed country on earth,
But the people are still smiling,
Despite what lies under the turf.
The horrors of war,
Have now been uncovered,
But do enough people know,
How much these ones have suffered?
To those who attacked,
The message is short:
It's time to pick up the bill,
For all the battles you fought.
So put your money where your mouth is,
Laos needs your aid,
To stop children from whispering,
"I can't play, I'm too afraid."

Added: 22.01.2009

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