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"Child of War"

Ruth Flanagan —

Ilsa Willacy entered her poem 'Child of War' into the Auckland War Memorial Museum's 'Lest We Forget' 2021 poetry competition and was a selected finalist.

This competition is open to the general public and school students. Isla was one of nine finalists invited to read their poems in the Hall of Memories during one of the museum's Anzac Memorial events.

Child of War

I have been captured but I am no prisoner

I have been enlisted but I am no soldier

I have been tortured but I am no enemy

I am no lead in your bloody role play

Yet I have seen, I have fought, I have suffered

Another day of childhood taken from me

Another side of brutal humanity exposed

Another strike against my sanity

Death is a stronger trait of normality than life

Tears are acquaintances while smiles are strangers

I am incapable of innocent thought

For my brain has been washed with blood

I am not mine, I am yours

Yet of my existence

It seems you don’t know

Imprisoned, enlisted, tortured

I have played all the parts

Fought all your battles

Yet my voice remains a mere whisper…

‘I am a Child of War.’