new zealand electronic poetry centre

Fiona Farrell

online works


Words, War and Water

‘For the past three months, Dr Zenad has been monitoring the birth defects in
their delivery room, where 20 to 30 babies are born daily...’ August - we had
three babies born with no head. Four had abnormally large heads. In
September we had six with no heads, none with large heads and two with
short limbs. In October, one with no head, four with big heads and four with
deformed limbs or other types of deformities…’

            The most likely origin of this gene-twisting force is not Iraqi but
Western. During the 100-hour ground war of February 1991, coalition planes
fired at least 1 million rounds of ammunition coated in radio-active material
known as depleted uranium, or DU…the heaviest metal in the world… so
tough that bullets coated in DU can slice through tanks like a knife through

(Report by Maggie O’Kane in the Guardian , January 1999)

nu BREAD-an e-iz-za-at-te-ni
wa-a-tar-ma e-ku-ut-te-ni

Now bread you eat.
Water then you drink.

(This proverb dating from c.2000BC provided a vital clue to the translation of Hittite.)


From The Inhabited Initial (AUP, 1999)
Fiona Farrell

Last updated 26 July, 2007