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Norbert Hirschhorn - The Neighbouring Village

edited by Jody Porter

The Neighbouring Village
by Norbert Hirschhorn

We hear their songs no more, ballads drifting
from the nearby village obliterated by war –

sung before their people were put to flight.

We used to visit door to door, but then forbidden
to shelter families even as roosters cried all night.

Did it matter so they weren’t us? Who forced us,

who made us stop our ears against those mournful
airs that left us heart-sore, from a village wiped off

the maps, erased without a fight, neighbours’ homes

bulldozed, their town clock rent silent. We hear
their songs no more, just another village

exterminated by war.

Norbert Hirschhorn is a public health physician, commended by former US president Bill Clinton as an "American Health Hero". He lives in London and Beirut. He has published three full collections, several pamphlets and has poetry in numerous US and British publications. This poem appears in his fourth collection, available from Holland Park Press. See his website for more information:

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