‘Don’t Mention the Children’ by Michael Rosen

Don’t mention the children.
Israel bans radio advert listing names of children killed in Gaza
(Guardian 24.07.14)

Don’t name the dead children.
The people must not know the names
of the dead children.
The names of the children must be hidden.
The children must be nameless.
The children must leave this world
having no names.
No one must know the names of
the dead children.
No one must say the names of the
dead children.
No one must even think that the children
have names.
People must understand that it would be dangerous
to know the names of the children.
The people must be protected from
knowing the names of the children.
The names of the children could spread
like wildfire.
The people would not be safe if they knew
the names of the children.
Don’t name the dead children.
Don’t remember the dead children.
Don’t think of the dead children.
Don’t say: ‘dead children’.

 
Michael Rosen is the author of 140 books. He was the fifth British Children’s Laureate from June 2007 to June 2009.  Here is a YouTube clip of Michael reading this poem at a national demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London on July 26th. Update – October 2015 ‘Don’t Mention the Children’, Michael Rosen’s first collection for adults since Selected Poems (Penguin) in 2007, is now available from Smokestack Books.