Ballad of a Cluster Bomb

I was born
Between factory walls
And I was conceived
Amongst the ivory halls
And in this world
I knew my role
I went to work
With a single goal

I traveled the earth
To far-off lands
From the Asian jungles
To the African sands
I flew in planes
Of camouflage green
Before I settled
Upon this scene

Like a shooting star
I came to rest
And this farmer’s field
Is where I nest
Just watching the seasons
Come and go
Watching the long grass
Grow and grow

Years go by
And I lay here still
For my purpose is clear
For me to fulfill
The sun was out
It was the middle of May
When the farmer’s three children
Came out to play

They ventured near
I lay in wait
One unknowing step
Sealed their fate
One thousand shards
Of plastic rose
From where I lay
And through their clothes

Into their bodies
The shrapnel sank
Here in this field
By a river bank
The blood poured down
Shone in the sun
And one cluster bomblet’s
Job was done

“Ballad of a Cluster Bomb” first appeared on the 2002 CD, Hang A Flag In the Window. Land mines and cluster bombs litter the world, largely as a result of US foreign policy, causing death and injury to children and others for decades after the end of conflicts and wars in places like former Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and elsewhere. They are often designed to resemble colorful little toys. When they’re set off, they often involve sending out thousands of tiny shards of plastic. They use plastic instead of metal because it takes the surgeons much longer to find and remove the pieces (if the patient survives the initial blast), thus serving to further encumber what would be an already-collapsing medical system in a country at war. I wrote the song after reading a newspaper article about children being blown up by a cluster bomblet that was sitting, undiscovered, in a field somewhere in Bosnia where they were playing.

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