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Thursday, February 02, 2023


by Phyllis Wax

Natalia Samsonova says she imagines the muffled screams of those trapped under the rubble, the fire and smell of smoke, the grief of the mother who lost her husband and infant child beneath the ruins of the building in Dnipro bombed by Russia. She imagines being unable to breathe. That is why she is here, at a statue to the Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka, a largely unknown monument tucked away among Moscow’s brutalist apartment blocks that has hosted a furtive anti-war memorial at a time when few in Russia dare protest against the conflict. PHOTO: A woman holds a placard reading ‘Ukraine is not our enemy, they are our brothers’ in front of a monument to Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka in Moscow. Photograph: Reuters —The Guardian, January 28, 2023

On this poor, indigent ground
I shall sow flowers of flowing colors;
I shall sow flowers even amidst the frost,
And water them with my bitter tears.

they lay their flowers
before the poet’s statue.              

or in twos
they stand mute.

in the silence
is their sorrow

their horror
and shame
at what Russia is doing.

Phyllis Wax watches the world from Milwaukee. Much of her poetry comes from her observations. She has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, in print and online.