Absolute measures

The British Parliament recently voted not to take military action on Syria. But despite  this, its Western ally the United States continues to linger between action and in-action, along with other nations. Meanwhile, on the ground, the atrocities continue.

This poem speaks of the chemical warfare being used in Syria and calls, if not for military action, for negotiation between all combatants.

Absolute measures

What nerve

does Sarin gas have to scorch

the air we breath?

Where leaves and white aves,

like a fallen angels,

fall to the earth and sickeningly seethe.

And as these streets lie cold and broken

are not the people a token of this land’s displacement?

All the while a silent hisses descends like silent rain

carrying a malicious, froth-corrupted pain.

And as the West spreads blame for

the chemical death it refused tame,

in some remote, inhabited plain,

humans huddle in ruined shelters

awaiting the next bomb, the next  hisssss

to blanket the land they once knew with bliss.

© Jonathan Rowe 2013








Cast it down


Listen to the emotion

burn like a potion inside

your soul.

Feel it move without notion

and go through the motions

leaving you more broken than whole.

For it comes from

love abused, love scorned

love that adorns the weak

who accept its veneered deceit.

Oh Sister!

Cast this beast of false affection down

into the pit from where it was found.

and let your own heart,

your own beauty, sound

for true love to hear.

Who are the Aliens?

Who are the Aliens?

Send them home!

You chant as fans

on legislative grandstands.

They should be expelled and banned 

You continually chant —

from coming to our land!

But what power, what right,

do you so-called possess,

to expunge them like insects in the night?

These landless, wandering souls who

came with freedom in sight?

What arguments can you duly provide

that will bring all opponents to your side

and end this integration divide?

They steal jobs!

They take space!

They bring drugs and crime!

But tell me, have you really looked into one

of their eyes?

Have you heard them relate with sadness in their


how from home and family — and from war, poverty

and disease — they had to physically fly?

How along that long, hazardous trek they very nearly


But like Pontius Pilate you wash your hands clean and refuse

to accept or adopt them,

handing them over on boats and planes to the troubled lands

they left behind.

But are not you,

Who sit like overseers on congressional seats,

not like them too?

Ask the First Nations, whom you call ‘Indians’,

and they’ll say who are the real citizens

and who are the aliens.




Kwa Afrika Yangu (For my Africa)

The title of this poem is in Swahili, but does not reflect Africa as a whole, a continent of over 2000 languages, 1 billion people and 54 states. Swahili is only used to represent, but not define, Africa because it is one of its most recognizable languages.


Kwa Afrika Yangu (For my Africa)

Do not speak of my homeland as a country,

For it is a continent of many tongues, nations and cultures.

Do not speak of my homeland as being of big men and

despots, For with every one of them there is a leader of the people

with an eye on tomorrow.

Do not speak of my homeland as a sad, chronic well of Aid,

AIDS and poverty, For beneath the soil and in every determined heart

there are treasures abounding.

Do not speak of my homeland as being of war and orphans,

For in the children of a new generation there will be peace and hope .

Do not speak of Europe as a savior and developer of my homeland,

for the legacy of our mighty empires dwarf their footsteps.

And please… do speak of my homeland not for what it is not,

but for what it can be.

And do not, do not speak of my homeland as ‘dark’ and ‘mysterious’,

but do speak of it as having the beauty of a thousand stars

and of it being the light and cradle of the world.