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GAZA IS ON FIRE- A Poem by K.V. Raghupathi



Death and life are in the hands of God.

Who said so?

But why do you commit mayhem in God's name?

Why do you drag God here to be abused?

Dead bodies, like dead cockroaches

Smashed cars, like mashed potatoes

Mangled iron, like twisted intestines

Gaza is on fire, burning

Gaza is bleeding, suffocating

like she has never seen before

rockets lighting up the sky like a swarm of fireflies

mass exodus like the Great Migration of Serengeti

life is not easy in this unforgiving land.

Nothing blooms in blood

except bleeding memories in silence.

Ambulance after an ambulance

streaming past like armoured tanks

with the bodies of the wounded

half burnt or decapitated

loading and unloading

like hefty food packs in gunny bags

a wailing woman asks:

Who is responsible for this?

Who will mourn for the dead?

There is only smoke in the sky

on the ground, all around

the city is decked out in a dark grey suit.

When hatred is let loose upon

as a hydra-headed monster

talking about values is like giving academic lectures on peace.

Where were these values when masked men

with gun-toting committed mayhem on the defenceless?


I lived for years

with smiles on my cherry lips

now only tears in my delphinium eyes;

it does not, I am told,

hold any big enough

to live in a grave or in war.

Once I was told

to walk hand in hand,

now there is no hand to hold

only bleeding bodies

rushing, holding breath in their hands

to save their skin and kin

in the intense shelling.


The doors fly like fireballs

only thick clouds of smoke rising

like the brown foam from Niagara Falls

wafting like dancing dolls

from the heap of rubble

of a multi-storeyed scrapper

that stood like a towering crown;

rattling houses and shops far and near

men and women holding their kids

like the dear in the grave

scuttling like rodents

as the scorched air and smoke chase

they search for a key for Mecca!

But there is no way to go.

Why is the sky not blue

but bleeding?

The child cried

seeing the red flames ascending and whirling.

The earth weeps,

only the sorrow flows like the Nile.

Here, there is no water

only blood flows,

You can neither drink nor dip

in the heat of war in the dystopian world.


The tree I have tended long

has fallen along with the al-Ahli-Arab hospital

where the dead are strewn like the dead in floods on the shore

and the dying are wailing

with the pulse documenting the number

and the blood struggling to rivulet through the mound of wreckage

the child beneath, screaming, said,

Is my mother safe?

He sat on the heap of stones

in the dead night

holding nothing in his hands

except half-burnt tears in his sunken blue eyes

waiting for his kith to raise from the rubble.

Alas! Only the mangled hands like ghosts’

peeking out from the debris;

the anguish is gone forever

only fear roosts long

asking him, ‘How would I live long in the face of death and misery?’


A broken loaf of bleeding bread

with tiny black flies zooming around

asking for more hatred and blood.

Whose bread is this?

The girl’s carnage lies far away

with dreams shattered in the billowing smoke

How far can we travel to realize the elusive goal?

There never was peace with a fonder smile

but never sweeter than a mother’s smile

now lying in the pile of dust and smoke.

So, sleep well in the lap of death

rather than wallowing in revenge and sorrow.

The wind blows, carrying the pollen of pain

in the night through the abandoned ruins of homes and streets.

There are no mourners in this dying metropolis

only drying tears with bleeding tales.

The sky shivers with shelling,

the earth shakes with giving birth to misery

but far away in a street corner

a wounded pregnant woman

piercing through the dawn

inaugurates a new life with rosy blood

that blooms amidst dust and smoke.


The sky bears only clouds

but now smoke from shelling.

It is autumn, nothing smells here except blood,

nothing blooms here except blood.

This girl child is running naked

clutching a doll dear to her bosom

with blood seeping from her fragile lips’ corner

her tiny fingers carrying the tales of the dead

screaming ommi in the Refugee Camp

little realizing that there are hundreds crying for ommi;

some are silent gazing into the empty future;

still clasping the doll

a very new doll with blood stains in her hand

the sole thing she has inherited from her deceased mother.

My house is in shambles,

I have no place to live

but I have a heart to survive,

Gaza is on fire, blazing and bleeding,

under seize, unsafe to live in, but strong.

I love my life here,

I have a will to rebuild my home, my city,

I will not leave until the last drop of blood is shed.

Gaza is my home – my heaven and hell.

Can you trace my mother I lost a few hours ago?

She ran here and vanished in the swelling smoke.

I have no photo; I lost the mobile in the wreckage

I can sketch her from my memory

but it is bleeding with war images.

Gaza is on fire, there is no way to go.

I have lost everyone in the family; I am so insane

Thankfully, I have evacuated myself from the tumbling sky

I am alone to bear the blood of memory

If you want, help others stuck in shelling

struggling for the last hope drenched in blood.

Forgive, Lord; Gaza is dying before it is dead!

A former academic, poet, novelist, short story writer, book reviewer, and critic, K.V. Raghupathi has thirteen poetry collections, two short story collections, two novels, eight critical works, and over forty book reviews. Recipient of several national awards for his creativity, he lives in Tirupati.

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

K. V. Raghupathi's poem 'Gaza is on Fire' identifies the poet as a sensitive and humanistic one who always responds to the contemporary events with a touch of remarkable humanitarianism surfacing from the depths of his heart, but always combined with an inquisitive curiosity to dig up the varying shades of human nature objectively. The poem faithfully captures the horrendous devastation of Gaza in a very poignant way with rich imagery. Sometimes some images are repetitive but it can be justified as it matches the repetitive dropping of bombshells and firing of missiles and guns along with the repetitive wailing of the wounded and the mutilated. But the pertinent question is: who set Gaza on fire? It's Man who pursues…


Venkata Ramana T
Venkata Ramana T
Nov 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

“ _GAZA IS ON FIRE_ ”- A Poem by K.V. Raghupathi, reflects the intensity and density of the damage that happened to the historical city of Gaza. It depicts the scale of carnage, dire consequences due to the mayhem committed in the name of God, religion, and ideology. The images in the poem take us under the continuous shelling where we can visualise the war scenario through: ‘There is only smoke in the sky on the ground, all around the city is decked out in a dark grey suit.’/ ‘only thick clouds of smoke rising like the brown foam from Niagara Falls’ / ‘Why is the sky not blue but bleeding?’ / ‘only the sorrow flows like the Nile.'


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