Jan Harris


your photograph in the newspaper


the burka frames your eyes

owl eyes in saffron dusk

amber where ashes reside


I lift you from the page

feel your small warm weight on my hand


fly little bird

fly on silent wings

there are men in the forest

and earth is hard as stone


In Afghanistan


He crouches against the grey wall,

leans back against his pack.


His hands, hidden in thick gloves,

point the rifle down, between splayed knees

to the safety of wet earth.


A black balaclava covers his head,

renders him anonymous -

nothing but a burka would hide more.


Snow settles on the dark wool of his coat,

on the laces of his boots,

on his lashes.


Only his eyes are visible;

revealing the man.

Everything else is soldier.



Jan Harris © 2010