five small children, painted well
Five small children, painted well,
Upon a green and fragile shell;
One small boy and four small girls
Lie within a tomb of jewels.
Interred in rich and rare display,
Immortalized by Fabergé;
But they would never reach old age.
Their childhood of privilege
And their naïve sincerity
Provided them no guarantee
Of lives lived long and free from grief;
No promise kept with lives too brief.
The children live in diamond frames;
The egg keeps record of their names
And holds the sanguine tears they shed
In wreaths of flowers, ruby red,
With funerary leaves of gold,
In place of children growing old.
War exacts its human cost;
And yet, in art, not all is lost —
It lives, this green and fragile shell
With five small children, painted well.