This poem is dedicated to friends in Ukraine, and to my mother, June, who has spent much time in that country working alongside of a charity called Hope Now, offering comfort and support to children, families and prisoners. Mum has a huge heart for Ukraine and for her friends there.
In 2009 I was fortunate enough to spend a little time visiting with her. The welcome was extraordinary. The landscape beautiful.
I find it so hard to reconcile being able to wander at will in the beauty of Pembrokeshire whilst so much destruction is being enacted. But, as mentioned below, I was told that an old Ukranian saying is that “hope is the last thing to die”.
So, for Ukraine, for Syria, for Yemen…for all war torn countries and their peoples, I will try to hold that thought.
It is early April and
I’m walking on Carningli.
High above me
Wild voiced walkers calling.
As larks arise
and a red kite dog fights a jackdaw.
An aerial display, enthralling.
Whilst in Ukraine, the sky is falling.
Tanks, artillery bestriding.
Bombs carpet cities
Missiles maul, whole townships flee.
Two worlds colliding.
The landscape of warfare,
I can’t take it in.
Years ago, I visited there.
What do I recall?
Wild poppies framed by dancing corn
Peppered with blue sky.
Two children crawling over a ruined tank…
Testimony to previous acts of madness and sacrilege.
Hay ricks, Constable like landscapes.
Wild turkeys taunting cats.
Vegetables being grown along the pavement sidewalks.
Motorbikes, streaming the blue and yellow flags
And sunflowers, overbearing and vivid.
The river, fat, wide and bold.
A gift of a frozen fish, wrapped in newspaper.
A bedroll on top of a stove, offering winter solace from crippling cold.
So many generous hosts
gifting me memories, feasting and fulsome days.
Teaching me that,
“Hope is the last thing to die”
an ever more poignant phrase.
My mother, Little Rock,
A babushka from Britain
Drenching children, prisoners, foster families
with her enduring love.
The cornfields are left begging.
Young men scythed as casually as World War One cannon fodder.
Whilst the cities suffer Blitzkrieg, by another name.
Propelling millions into unwelcomed motion.
Wreaking havoc, sewing misery and pain
Now, as before, in one man’s name.
Later that spring day,
I walked amongst young trees
and marvelled at the sweep of celandine
framing yellow and blue
and I dream of Hope Now
for our friends
My photos from June 2009