Friday, October 18, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

I Want to Hold Your Hands: 
A poem for the people of Syria

by Barbara Ehrentreu

I want to hold your hands
Parents of children lined up
in burlap bags
whose joy and laughter have
been snuffed forever by
a ruthless dictator who
cares more for power than
for the lives of his people

And I want to hold the hands of you
who escaped over the borders
holding your children's hands
Wanting only to find a safe haven
and finding instead a city of people
who like you want to have
a normal life for themselves
Instead milling around in a refugee camp
where a tent is your home and you
must depend on the goodness of others
to feed and clothe you and your family

I want to hold your hands and not shove
bombs onto your war torn country
I want to virtually hold you and say

it's okay for the moment
You would be safe with me
For weapons have no place in
my world

Yet people hurt by bullets or bombs or gas
Innocent of the crime
of being alive and on the wrong side
must live in fear that soon
my country will sear your souls
with senseless weapons and soon you
will be witnessing more death
Only this time the death will come from
the outside and you will lay your hope
n the street and bury it with the bodies
of your children.

Barbara Ehrentreu posted this poem on her facebook page on September 5th, in response to the terrible news from Syria about the gassing of civilians including children. I wanted to feature it immediately, but there were other posts which needed to take precedence. 

Barbara, originally from Brooklyn, New York, now lives in Stamford, Connecticut. I first came across her work during the annual April Poem A Day challenges at Poetic Asides, hosted by Robert Lee Brewer. Now we are in a poets' group on facebook together. Her interview with Robert on her blog, Barbara's Meanderings, begins with her reminiscences about being shy and overawed when she began participating at Poetic Asides ... until she felt that sense of a poetic community which we here at Poets United also know.

As well as a poet, she is a retired teacher, a Children's Author and a Young Adult Author. Her YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. You can read about it on Goodreads. As a blogger, she uses the name lionmother, and she is indeed the mother of a grown daughter. Her passionate concern for the young is obvious, and although many were appalled and distressed by the situation in Syria, it doesn't surprise me that she was the one who wrote the poem I'd like to have written about it. The compassion in it touched me deeply.

Any poem or photo used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remains the property of the copyright holder (usually its author).


  1. Rosemary, thank you so much for this!! I love the post and I'm going to send people over here now!!:)

  2. Thanks for sharing this poem, Rosemary. Barbara, I appreciated your poem and its strong statement. May your poetic voice be heard.

  3. ah, thank you! this is a wonderful poem, poet, and post. Glad to have the connection.

  4. Oh this poem gripped me, heart and mind, and I was so grateful someone wrote it to say what I had been feeling. Such an intriguing poet, Rosemary - thank you for the heads up, I must get to know Barbara over at her blog. Barbara, you are indeed lion-hearted, and your voice resonates deeply with me. I am so glad to have read your poem this morning.

    1. Sherry, thank you so much!! I hope you will come over to my blog. If you are an author I am always looking for guests!

  5. Rosemary, well said. Barbara is one of those poets who can write the upbeat and the chillingly real as well. I've followed Barbara's writing ever since the Poetic Asides days and must say, she keeps on getting better. Thanks again, R., for highlighting one of our own in the "I Wish I'd Written This" section. Amy

    1. Amy, I <3 you!!! We have known each other for a long time.:) Thank you and hope to see one of your poems here soon.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Rosemary. This is a poem that comes from her heart and my heart aches with it. Thank you. I'm going to walk on by lionmother and see what's up.

    1. Thank you, Susan.:) I did write it from my heart as I saw those images. They don't sit lightly on a poet's brain. Sometimes crying about something is just not enough.

  7. A moving poem, indeed. Simple and yet, speaks volumes.

  8. an excellent and very moving poem....

    1. Thank you and happy you were able to get the emotions I poured into it.

  9. Deeply moving and well written poem. My heart bleeds for all who suffer as casualties of war.

    1. Kathryn, thank you so much and this is why I wrote this poem.

  10. Well done Rosemary! This poem of Linda's deserves as much exposure as hits us where we need it to...and stays with us long after the reading...exquisitely stated pain is still heart-breaking and Linda has done such a good job here. Kudos to you both.

  11. Poetry from the heart and the gut...filled with compassion and anger.excellent!

    1. Thank you, Karen. I had no other place for my emotions to go but into words. At times like those my fingers do the talking.:)

  12. Barbara's poem touches, reaches us on so many levels~
    Thank you Rosemary for sharing her with us!
    Haunting, as it should be!

    1. Thank you, so much Ella. These are thoughts I have been thinking for a very long time and maybe this insanity will finally stop.


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