I saw a polar bear
In a cage, in a zoo,
In a polar bear sweat,
Standing on a wet rock,
Dejected, defeated,
When I was only six.

The great white furry beast
Was in a tiny space.
I don’t think he could turn.
How could a child measure
Radius – circumference
When it is only six?

I questioned my father.
‘Is that OK for bears?’
He said, ‘It isn’t, and
I shouldn’t have brought you.
I’m sad you must see it,
When you are only six.’

The bear searched my child’s face
With huge dewy brown eyes
Which followed my movements.
Those moist eyes spoke to me.
They said, ‘Save me, can you,
You, who are only six?’

Sixty years on, I still
Remember those sad eyes
And their message, too hard
To understand at the time.
A cruelty is eternal
When you are only six.

What will the children of
Aleppo remember





Full colour poetry Clive La Pensée