Ruth Kozak – LTNC Series


On the beach at Naxos,

It isn’t just the mothers who care for their children.

I see fathers tenderly cradling babies,

Rocking them gentle as they pace the shore.

Another holds his tiny daughter tight,

A mother hold her toddler’s hand on their morning stroll.

Here on Naxos

Sun-browned, naked nymphs frolick at the waters edge

Children everywhere, romp in the summer sun.

Happy families together on the beach.

On another island

A child’s limp body is lifted from the sand,

The shoreline strewn with abandoned life-jackets, back-packs and debris

A father grieves for his drowned family,

A mother screams in terror.

These parents care for their children too,

Have risked their lives to escape to a ‘safe’ place,

Leaving the horrors of war behind

To crowd onto over-loaded rubber rafts

For a sea journey to safety.

How many of them have drowned on the voyage?

How many have lost their children

Those children they wanted to bring to a safe shore

To enjoy a future in a place where there was no war?

On Lesbos Island,

It isn’t just fish the sailors catch in their nets

Brave men dive into the sea to save those who are floundering

Village women bring warm blankets, food, offer comfort.

Strangers come from afar to embrace the rescued ones.

Yet there are those who would not welcome them.

“Go back home!” they say. Home? There is no home.

It has all been destroyed, and already too many lives lost.

I sit on Naxos’ shore,

Watch the happy parents stroll,

Hear the happy cries of children

And I think about that island, not too far from here

Where a frightened mother cradles her baby

And a father cries for a drowned son.

Dedicated to the memory of little Alan Kurdi (2015)

Artist and About This Piece:

Ruth Kozak is a published historical fiction writer and travel journalist. “I wrote while on the beach at Naxos, Greece.  I was thinking of the island not far away, Lesbos (Mytelini) where so many refugees have landed over the past couple of years, and in particular this tragic event when one of the boats sank.”

Ruth Kozak also writes some poetry and instructs writing classes. Her novel (about the fall of Alexander the Great’s empire) is available in two volumes on  SHADOW OF THE LION: Blood on the Moon (vol 1)\and SHADOW OF THE LION: The Fields of Hades (vol 2)  and is also available (full volume) in amazon Kindle.
She lives in New Westminster, British Columbia Canada.

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