Recently, some very disturbing news has been flashing across our various screens about happenings in Gaza. We watch and listen and read, our minds not fully processing what’s actually happening, even though there is no shortage of “expert analysis” from every possible corner.

Here are three poems from our Weekend Poem archives that describe war in very personal and impactful ways.

For the most part, there isn’t much many of us can do besides articulating our shock, anger, disgust over the mindless massacres. Even these attempts to make sense of the atrocities don’t accomplish much.

Yet, through the ages, poets and writers have always sought to put these collective emotions into their finest words and metaphors. And, in so doing, they often allow us to a certain amount of comprehension so that we can, if nothing else, hold onto our own humanity as if in the eye of the storm.

The poets in this collection have all lived through wars and their poems are their approaches of both making sense their own experiences and giving voice to those of others. Lest we forget.

1. The War Works Hard by Dunya Mikhail

How magnificent the war is!
How eager
and efficient!
Early in the morning
it wakes up the sirens
and dispatches ambulances
to various places
swings corpses through the air

2. Weekend Poem: Come to the Stone… by Randall Jarrell

The child saw the bombers skate like stones across the fields
As he trudged down the ways the summer strewed
With its reluctant foliage; how many giants
Rose and peered down and vanished, by the road
The ants had littered with their crumbs and dead.

3. Weekend Poem: The Amen Stone by Yehuda Amichai

On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:

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