Every war enriches our vocabulary with blood – Toni Kan

Every war bequeaths on us a new vocabulary

Of death and suffering and carnage

We learn of new words and new places drawn with blood and tears

By cartographers of terror and grief

In times past they spoke of Auschwitz and Sobibor and the gas chambers

To commemorate the madness of Hitler

Biafra sired kwashiorkor and children with distended bellies in a war amongst brothers

The gulf war threw up Baghdad and Fallujah where Americans supped on sand in the desert storm

In Afghanistan, the Taliban taught us to speak of Kabul and Kandahar with tongues singed by gun powder

When Assad chose the path of blood, we became acquainted with Aleppo as Homs jumped at us like a crazed bandit

Boko Haram gave us Bama and Sambisa both still fresh on our tongues like a stab wound

Today, as Putin’s madness unravels our tongues are heavy with the burden of saying Kharkov and Mariupol

Because every war enriches our vocabulary with blood.


Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date