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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

They used to tell me I was beautiful

Qamar and Rahaf were toddlers

asleep at home in Homs. A shell

fired the bedclothes

and the children burned.

It made the news. Shots of them

in hospital cots, broadcast;

tiny blackened hands, burying themselves

in soft pink teddybear fur.

Six years of operations, and Qamar is 9.

She loves doctors; she’d like to heal too.

Boys still point: look at her

disfigured face.

Qamar draws her dream house

and a mosque. What does she pray for?

I ask God to cure me; re-make me

more beautiful than I was before.

© Sue Norton

Syria shelling: 'They used to tell me I was beautiful'

Sue Norton has had poems published in various magazines. She was a prizewinner in the 2017 Rialto/RSPB Nature Poetry competition.


  1. Nice one. We are told too little of how war victims' lives continue after the attack that made the initial headlines. This poem tells that story with both sadness and hope.