“El Mozote” (National Poetry Month Posts, Day 4)

A memorial statue commemorating the massacre in the Salvadoran village of El Mozote

I wrote this poem when I read about the massacre that occurred in the small El Salvadoran village of El Mozote in 1981. What happened there affected me so deeply, that I had to write about it. It was initially dismissed by the Reagan administration because of its reflection of the human rights abuses of the Salvadoran government, which the U.S. was supporting with large amounts of military aid.

El Mozote


The soldiers came, in morning,
alarm clocks with bayonets,
classifying the villagers like
canned goods on a grocery shelf.
green chiles, aisle 2,
corn and baby peas, aisle 13.


They pulled
the men from their families
like bad teeth,
arranging them
to ask unanswerable questions.
Then, as if they were
lines on a chalkboard,
they erased them.


High noon arrived and
the mothers and elder daughters
became the soldier’s Kleenex,
used, then tossed aside.


The population, unburied,
were left to burn
in coward’s fire,
their sleepy homes
reduced to charcoal.


In the end,
the villagers didn’t know that the letters
in the town’s name glowed with warning
that December day.
How could they?
Sheep can’t see through woolen glasses.

© Jamy Sweet 2011-04-06

Click here for the wiki entry about the horrible and unnecessary El Mozote Massacre.



4 thoughts on ““El Mozote” (National Poetry Month Posts, Day 4)

  1. Pingback: “intelligent_design”, National Poetry Month Post #3 | A Rhythm Runs Through It

  2. So sad and horrible and beautifully written. It’s crazy that Reagan would get El Salvador and Nicaragua confused. He just cared about fighting “communism” but backed the wrong people with such a shortsighted goal. And then lives like these are destroyed.


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