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Tuesday, November 29, 2022


by Bruce Bennett

As anger over the drawn-out invasion simmers in Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Friday held his first public meeting of the nine-month-long war with mothers of soldiers who had been fighting in Ukraine, a move likely aimed at quelling discontent. In a clip broadcast by Russian state media, Putin is seen sitting down with a group of women around a table adorned with ornate tea cups and fresh berries for a talk coinciding with Russian Mother’s Day. “I want you to know that I personally, the entire leadership of the country, we share your pain,” Putin said, pausing and clearing his throat. “We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child, especially for the mother, to whom we all owe the birth.” —The Washington Post, November 26, 2022

“I share your pain,” says Vlad the Great 

to mothers grieving loss. 

He reassures them that the State 

appreciates the cross 


They have to bear. To lose a son 

“that nothing can replace….” 

He’s clearly moved. When he is done 

there’s nothing on his face 


To indicate he has a clue 

this has to do with him, 

or that there’s something he could do 

to alter what the grim 


And vicious plans of godless foes 

have caused and cruelly wrought. 

Grim faces testify to woes 

that reinforce his thought 


And make it clear he’s in control. 

The Dark Night’s not near dawn. 

This glib ghost of the Russian Soul 

decrees the War goes on. 

Bruce Bennett is the author of ten books of poetry and more than thirty poetry chapbooks. His most recent full-length book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town: Poems New and Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017). From 1973 until his retirement in 2014, he taught Literature and Creative Writing at Wells College, and is now Emeritus Professor of English. In 2012 he was awarded a Pushcart Prize. He predicted what we were in for in his November 2016 YouTube video, The Donald Trump of the Republic.