War Poems

The War Poems are a daily witnessing of the pain and suffering of two nations.

After waking to the news of the Israeli massacre by Hamas on October 7th,  I had great difficulty expressing my pain, horror and absolute sorrow not only for Israelis whose families were killed in the most vicious of ways, but also for Palestinians because I knew what was to come and the feeling was terrifying.  I felt paralyzed as a Jewish woman who had lived in Israel in the late 1980s and had become part of the peace movement, Shalom Achshav, Peace NOW. My relationships in Israel were with both Arab and Israeli, Muslim and Jew, side by side carrying peace and love in our hearts for each other.

Within days of October 7th, I began to process my feelings through my poetry. Every morning, I wake and read the news of the war, then meditate to feel what I have to say, and then I write. One poem for every day of this war. These have become The War Poems. I will continue to write until there is peace or a truce.

These poems are not about division or divisiveness. If anything, they are about our oneness as human beings.

War #1

is poverty
of the mind

War Poem #2

is the malnourished

War #3  

 a mantra to help me remember who I am
in this time
of war


and within
her spirit

War Poem #4

how much does it cost
to wage war
to Love

War #5

War roams beneath the bared souls of flowers
War surrounds the heart like a tumor
War can be heard in the silence of death
War wears the petals of a child’s eyes forever closed
War spatters blood on the leaves of eucalyptus trees
War harvests misery
War is a broken ladder on either side
War is the baker making loaves for the hungry
War is the mother holding tightly to thorns
War is the scent of burning breath
War is not a revolution
War is not a revelation
War is cowardice in the face of love
War is a terrorist
War is the dog chasing its tail
War is a drifter looking for its dime
War is not for lovers
War feasts on love
War is rapacious
War meandered into our gardens and never left

War Poem #6

and yet
some still believe
there is a god

War Poem #7

from sand and dirt
they make ovens
to feed each other


War Poem #8

how high the mountain rises
beyond its highest peak

on the ground
leaves swirl in the bellows

in between the two
love ripples  submerged

War Poem #9


i do
not resist
i open
in the exhale
to exist

War Poem #10


what exists
in the hours of no longer

infinite loss
and the governments parlay

the back and forth of the broom
leaves blow to the curb
then cross the blood stained streets

we’ve snuffed the candles
no miracles
in the formidable play
of whose side of the street are you on

War Poem #11

between borders
the desert mountains
purple before the sun
nubian ibex edge into twilight
feeding into the awe

War Poem #12


vining bougainvillea
follow no borders

War Poem #13

i am walking inside
my memory

in dahab
on the red sea
its lips salting my skin

across the water is saudi arabia
behind me
mountains with roots

that berry in deserts of age
the sound of the oud

i am adopted
by a bedouin family
into the language of the heart

the sea is quiet
camels drape the land
with morning and mourning

War Poem #14

i’ve sat in arab villages
along the sea
drinking tea
eating dried fruits
with children and elders
with love in our eyes
and hope in our hearts
for each other’s survival
where saying i love you
is something to cherish
never to fear

War Poem #15

the holy scrolls
of grief unwind

widows gather
like stuck keys on a typewriter

over graves
and flowers

War Poem #16

beneath the rubble
petals flower

deals are made
in water

grandmother shields
a child’s eyes
from the glare of inhumanity

War Poem #17


who is allowed to live
and who to smell jasmine on the vine
or drink mint tea in the sinai
or make love beneath a bridge
in the shadow of the moon

where on god’s green earth exists
not a prison for the poor
where babies are not sold and soldiered and pawned
at the very same time
in different lands
in different wars

the precipice licks ice cream from its cone
waiting at the head of the line for the big bonanza

the oil companies gaggle
the war machine revs its hi$$$ and death engines
politicians clamor for the golden toilet seat
in a genocide to which they’ve cheered l’chaim

War Poem #18

the moon comes up from the margins
lighting its way into consciousness
on earth
this once revered and holy place
now just a place
to bury the dead
and sweep the ashes of war

War Poem #19

if i could sit with you
i would bring you bread
and tea with rumaanim
felafel and warm pita
and gifts for your family

is such an empty word
it resigns itself to failure

War #20

leaves blow down from their trees
crossing fields and hoof prints of deer
up the coyote trail past the quail
i watch them traverse this desert landscape
driven this way and then
beyond my sight
where all I can feel
is their fear in the silence
between the gnashing teeth of bombs

War #21

i’ved counted the seeds of the rimon
in each seed
a voice

a mantra
of love
and a warning

War #22

daybreak slices its way
like a candied layer cake
across the desert sky
one might think
that all is well
in the world
the fruit trees gave
farmers harvested the fruit
pies were made
peaches canned
the first frost is now days old
but i still have not
put a mezuzah on our door

War Poem #23

yesterday’s poem
was just
on the page

War Poem #24

it seems there is a paywall
on peace

War Poem #25

                                                i have burned

                                               all the propaganda

                                                beneath moons

                                                of bloodshed

                                                                        for love

War Poem #26

if the trunk of even
the oldest olive tree
is cut down
it does not die

from its roots
shoots arise to grow
ensuring its continued existence

and from the shatter
of hearts

War Poem #27

without anesthesia
let us hear the truth

about war

War Poem #28

this big coyote
walks across the field

turns at the stand of trees
takes a few long steps
sniffs the wind

crosses over
in the secrecy of grasses
for the hen house

War Poem #29

we wait
for no one
is coming

War Poem #30

the desert air is dry
it will not pretend
to be your savior

or hear sorrow
or wet the wadis

with your tears
but if you are still
in the heat of its winds

it will provide
sails to navigate
the waters of the soul

War Poem #31

it’s been 36 days since

War Poem #32

to write the unspeakable

to bring

my horror

to the page

burned jewish babies
in kitchen ovens

and in turn
as the merry-go-round
of war

with one bomb
or one thousand

ten thousand babies
became black smoke
billowing toward
no one’s heaven

War Poem #33

is not
a metaphor

War Poem #34

in oneness
of dueling narratives

War Poem #35

how does one sleep
on rubble and ash
on the sharp edge
of fear

how does one sleep
waiting for answers
from the dead

how does one sleep
in the searing divisions of a nation
created for survival

how does one sleep
after the cries of babies
are silenced
by grenades

how does one sleep
after walking through
the mutilation of a dream

how does one sleep
when the pillows of justice
are covered in bloodshed

how does one sleep
when sorrow is the sunrise
and terror the rising moon

how does one sleep
when peace is war
and war is peace

how does one sleep
in a world hell-bent
on destruction

how does one sleep
when there is no comfort
for the living

how does one sleep
at all

War Poem #36

(peace offering dream)

i plait november’s red willows
into my greying hair
crouch then crawl
inside the desert’s holy waters
where there a fallen bough
of juniper curls naked to my waist
then into blue of early evening light

high at the mountain’s peak
upon the footsteps of the ages
rock of sages and breath
of the wild ram and sallow hiss
of snake and faraway draw
i lay my body’s gown

of magpie of coyote
they sing their sonata
such a wild sky
i offer my soul to join

we sing for mercy for peace for love
to no one at all who hears
the gods are all dead
the living tortured remnants of ghosts remain

War Poem #37

place your burden
and yours
and yes

all the sorrow
all the devastation
of war and longing
for peace

into this basket
pomegranate seeds woven
in fractals of flowers

let us mix them
then spill onto earth
these burdens
to see

the sorrow
tears and blood

that all the burden
is one burden
a collective burden
by place or culture
but as the burden belonging

to all of humanity

War Poem #38

in the name of Rachel Corrie
in the name of Ahed Tamimi
in the name of Israeli mothers
in the name of Palestinian mothers
in the name of all the children
cease fire now

in the name of humanity
let us bow down before sanity
like Abraham did before the people
so that he could bury his wife
so that we may bury this war
so that we can forgive
traumas we’ve carried
since gods became mortals

for the sake of the living
for the wail of the wolf
for the tender buds of spring
let us forgive and let go

lift this fog from the rivers
shine a light so bright that no soldier can see
a light so candescent that governments can hide nothing
a light so fierce that shadows cease
a light so radiant we it blinds all hatred

i toss the seeds to the unfair four winds
to heal
to bury the dead
to care for the living
to mend our hearts
to remember our breath
to engage in love

to love
to love
to love

and never more
raise arms
in war

War Poem #39

how I weep the weight
of what would have been
this season’s olive harvest

none emerges
who know the curatives
for this impermanence of peace

so i must cure my own
in your name
from the salt of my tears
and the briny muscle of my heart
and in your name
i will plant young trees of olive
of fig and carob
bare rooted all
as is my soul

beside it i will toss the seeds of barley
to the earth, then braid challah
from the grain sprouting in your name
for shabbat for the healing
that must come
for love for unity
that may not ever grow

War Poem #40

rage turns

            to flame


in the spinning

            splintered wheels

                        of desperation

in the swelter

            the swale

                        of divide

War Poem #41


in the distance
the mountain trees
change color before becoming
the moon

War Poem #42

(Galilee Fumitory,  an extremely rare flower in Israel’s Hanita Forest near Lebanon)

did you mean by saying
from the river to the sea
that you yearn to discover
the flowering path

that you have seen
the wild tulips hatch
upon the northern hills
and spotted the rarest flower
like a violet-colored peace
so extremely rare
seen by too few to believe
it could be real

when you saw the flowering lily
felt its petals in your soul
that light and grace grow plentiful
from the hills of galilee
south into the sea
did it show you that of flowers
all are we

i’m certain this must be
what you meant when you said
from the river to the sea
of flowers all are we
of flowers all are we

Mimi German is a poet living primarily in SE Oregon in the canyons of Steens Mountain Wilderness. She is the author of Beneath the Gravel Weight of Stars and Where Grasses Bend. She was just named Oregon’s first Beat Poet Laureate (2023-2025) by the National Beat Poetry Foundation. You may contact her at mimigermanpoetry@gmail.com.