Zarafa, my love

With your tiny fingers and toes
Nails so sharp to rake new lines
In your young cheeks
With the fresh sensation
Of shock and awe
We welcome you to this place
Unknowing how to tell you
But with soft touches
Gentle words and careful
Rubs to soothe your stomach
As it navigates for the first time
Those aspects of life
That are harder to swallow
If we are not perfect
Trust us when we swear
We will try ever harder
To understand and be present
For and in all things
That matter to you
Please know that
You are wanted, and needed
And best of all,
You are loved

Deserted and abandoned youth

Choose certain death and ostracism
Exile self-imposed; ‘tradition’
Loss of home and family
Born of faith’s supremacy

So young, with minds not fully fed
In fear of first missteps, unled
Some seek to live by others’ rules
And hope to never have to choose

While those whose choice was thrust upon
Unwary shoulders, far too young
Have just enough experience
To recognise their own good sense

And knowing that some errors will
Occur despite intentions, still
Are less afraid to persevere
And build the life they want right here.

Though actions have their aftermath
There is no righteous, clear-cut path
Please do not fear all consequence
Change is not dangerous; though dense

And unenlightened elders may
Feel life no longer goes their way
As age and distance emphasise
The loss of youth before sad eyes

Unready to relinquish reins
To those in throes of growing pains.
Decisions to abandon trust
Give up hope and freedoms; lust

For life of lesser contemplation
Out of social obligation;
Turn to ends more violent
Ignore suggestions, kindly meant

And quick condemn all other views –
Is this the path you wish to choose?
Consider this, before you do
For truly, this choice rests with you:

Such suicide invites abuse
Of others that may follow blood
For love, for family, for feud
Will throw themselves away; – jihad

In mourning for those gone before
Their minds made waste, still immature
And more than one will idolise
The first to die – if death you prize

Above the life you hold in hand
So understand, if you have planned
To be the martyr for your tribe
And leave the others still alive

The minute you take up this course
Imagining rewards; Firdaws
You lose control of what is shown
And once you’ve gone, the whole thing’s blown:

With ashes scattered over sand
Your image will be used to brand
Misinformation into truth –
Deserted and abandoned youth.

Dish of the day

Piping hot, served on a big, silver platter
With pristine white linen in case it should splatter

Serving suggestion: try holding your nose
(It can be quite fragrant when fresh off the stove)

A gentle reminder – you may burn your tongue
On sauce with such condiments, thickened and mum

Though some find it bitter, you might like the taste
So try not to let what you’ve bought go to waste

It’s strange and exotic, the critics all say
But you ordered The Truth – it’s our dish of the day.

Wicked Truths

Fear and guilt implied
You provoked a scene
Now the world has lied
To deny what’s been

Guilty conscience herd
Legislation late
Undermining words
We’d all love to hate

Did you really think
With the box in hand
No one snuck a peek
In the whole damn land?

Were we so naive
Docile and secure
That we disbelieve
All the things he saw?

Now the whistle blown
Plays a waiting game
As he’s hunted down
For exposing shame

And our lives go on
At the same slow pace
While we log each bomb
Lobbed in cyberspace