Janet Hatherley

Janet Hatherley

Janet Hatherley is a London poet. Her debut pamphlet, What Rita Tells Me, was published in May 2022 (Dempsey & Windle).  

Ghazal: no surviving family
Tuesday, 09 April 2024 12:42

Ghazal: no surviving family

Published in Poetry

Ghazal: no surviving family

by Janet Hatherley

It’s a new acronym, the medic says,
WCNSF. Wounded child, no surviving family.

The three-year-old in her rescuer’s arms, chatters,
glances at the sky, eyes wild, no surviving family.

One orange a day from their only tree,
no other food, no stockpiles. No surviving family.

People leaving, a second nakba.
Once more exiled, no surviving family.

Gaza’s a prison between land, sea and desert,
it’s apartheid. No surviving family.

I’m twenty-four, the journalist said, never let out
of Gaza, never seen a mountainside
. No surviving family.

Hospitals collapsed weeks ago,
everywhere bodies piled, no surviving family.

It’s been seventy-five years, the Palestinian said.
Time up, the West replied, no surviving family.

Israel has a right to defend itself, it says.
The world’s been lied to, no surviving family.

Drive them out the settler calls,
a Zionist brainchild, no surviving family.

We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything wrong,
a greatgrandchild and no surviving family.

If Jesus came again she’d be born a Palestinian
Thursday, 25 January 2024 14:41

If Jesus came again she’d be born a Palestinian

Published in Poetry

If Jesus came again she’d be born a Palestinian

by Janet Hatherley

toddle amongst the grass roots
of her people.

Like them her existence
would not be recognised

by the western world.
Israel wants them either dead

or gone.
White stars would rain on her

from the night sky like fireworks
but these would be phosphorous.

The heavy bombs built to drop
on armoured vehicles

would fall
and the walls of her bedroom

would crumble. She would lie
under the rubble of many homes

for many days
or she would be found.

On another night without anaesthetic
her legs would be amputated.

She would face years of pain.
Finally, she would grow to be a leader

for all the peoples—
equality spilling from her hands, like seeds.