The Breaking of Bread and Catastrophe: Two poems on Gaza
Tuesday, 05 December 2023 11:52

The Breaking of Bread and Catastrophe: Two poems on Gaza

Published in Poetry

The breaking of bread

by Janet Sillett

Families queuing for round flat loaves
each morning before dawn
the struggle for bread

Sharq Bakery in Gaza City bombed late October 2023
in the doorway blood mixes with flour
the smell of baking lingering in the space that is left

I recall Jewish black bread, caraway studded
the scent of my grandmother’s house in Salford 1960
reconstruction in flour and yeast



by Janet Sillett

Starved of light
an exodus in slow motion before the rains of a Gazan winter
the memory of dispossession in every stone

I picture the grey Polish landscape of my imagination
lines of people displaced moving
always moving

when people are unnamed
there is no need for bread


Author's Note

More than 70 percent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have been displaced since 8 October 2023

Up to 2 million Jews fled the pogroms in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914


For Gaza
Tuesday, 05 December 2023 11:52

For Gaza

Published in Poetry

For Gaza

by Mike Jenkins

They dried up the terrain
Like parched riverbeds with only names left

They bombed the shops and warehouses -
Every child's stomach a crater

They cut off the electricity
So darkness was a way of life

They stopped the journalists from entering;
Who queued before danger like relief trucks

They blew up the roads , those 'potholes'
The pocks of many missiles

They ordered a million to move on ,
Who were followed by spying drones

They blockaded air , sea and land,
Huge noose of every element

While the people ran out of bodybags -
Soldiers on the border, inhuman predators.

Image above: by Alisdare Hickson. A Black man carrying a placard "Gaza - Stop the Massacre" at a protest near Downing Street in London. In the background, a placard "#Endthesiege". This was the day after the U.S. moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and 61 unarmed Palestinians, including several children, a baby, and journalist Yasser Murtada, were killed by the Israeli army during a demonstration near Gaza's border fence.

In Gaza
Tuesday, 05 December 2023 11:52

In Gaza

Published in Poetry

In Gaza

by Kevin McCann, with image above by Martin Gollan

There’s a boy,
Maybe three, maybe four,
Dirty knees,
Dusty face,
Tousled hair
And within arm’s reach
There’s another,
Probably his brother,
Head bandaged,
One eye patched over,
His tee-shirt blood streaked.

They reach out,
One to another,
Try to hold hands

But can’t manage.

They’re shaking too much.