With resilience, they have withstood what could have become an international disaster for all humankind — an outbreak of a Third World War. The spirit that has resisted the ongoing invasion of Ukraine is admirable. They have stayed strong without bowing, crumbling or annihilating themselves in the wake of an onslaught that hurts humanity across all borders in different degrees and creates a huge population of refugees. We gave voice to one such refugee, Lesya Bakun — not just in our site but also in our first anthology — Monalisa No Longer Smiles: An Anthology of Writings from across the World.
This year, we quest for hope towards peace, a better, more accepting world with poetry on Ukraine. One of the poems here is accompanied by art from Ukrainian artist, Maria Kirichenko. We feature some of the poems gathered on Ukraine over the year.
“How Many Times Must the Cannonballs Fly…?” Featuring poetry by Lesya Bakun, Rhys Hughes, Ron Pickett, Michael R Burch, Kirpal Singh, Suzanne Kamata, Mini Babu, Malachi Edwin Vethamani, Sybil Pretious and Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read.
My friend, Maria Kirichenko, is an artist
Her paintings are so real
I love the way she captures the light
That falls on the side of a house
In the woods by the fields
There's a brilliance there
There's life in those paintings
She draws people too
Some smiling, some serious
She lives in Ukraine
She shares pictures of the war
Her country under siege
I worry about her, her art, her life
I worry about the life, lives around her
I message her to stay safe for that's all that I can do
I, like many others, am a silent witness
I do not want to know the nitty-gritty
Of what is politically right
Or left or centre
Politics of war are men's creation
My thoughts are from the human angle
All I care for is that my friend is happy and safe
I want the attacks to stop. Childish me.
Or are these just the normal thoughts of a woman?
Women go to war only if attacked.
Not for material needs. Not out of greed.
Not for power. Never out of ambition.
Maybe countries should be run by women
There would be less aggression
And as my thoughts go round in circles
I think of Maria Kirichenko
I think of her beautiful paintings
I think of the once pristine land of Ukraine
And hope that light dawns with the coming year
In the minds of men
Vineetha Mekkoth is a poet, writer, translator, editor and reviewer. She has translated for the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and has also contributed articles for the Malayalam Literary Survey, a quarterly brought out by the Akademi. Her poems and short stories have been included in various anthologies.
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