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Sunday, May 22, 2022


by Steven Croft

Polemos pater panton (War is the father of all things.)

From the internet I read about the bombardment of Barcelona
by Italians, Germans, in 1938, watch the Movietone footage
of children running, the torn arm of a father's tweed jacket dark
with blood even in the film's black and white.  Omen, prelude
of what would come.  Today Germans, Italians, the rest of us,
condemn the bombs' carnage in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol.

The UN was founded in 1945 to prevent world war and make
the world better.  A gradualism powered by hope, a world
where the center will hold, held by our civilized will, forged
from what we all want and what we know we did wrong.  But...
those bomb-melted multistorey wrecks of buildings in the gritty,
jumpy newsreel are grimly colored in today in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Mariupol.

War could never be a mother.  Not that she couldn't cradle a rifle
as easily as a baby, plant a garden of mines—but motherhood
is too likely to want the peace to nurture children, is too ready
to negotiate, to drop the aim of a final strike on the wounded,
seeing her own sons and daughters in them, their mothers' pain.

Even if it, she, starts small like an opening bud in spring, compassion
could start at a steel plant in Mariupol where bloody-bandaged men
are being stretchered out to buses today on CNN.  Negotiation
could spread to Kharkiv, Kyiv, Kherson, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, peace
could become a warm-bedded garden, now the mother of everything.

Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, San Pedro River Review, The New Verse News, North of Oxford, Anti-Heroin Chic, Soul-Lit, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.