Updated: Mar 17, 2022
History and Ukraine: The Battle of Kyiv 2022.
History, you Falstaffian roustabout,
Warn of despot power plays, whether
Greek or Trojan, Roman or Barbarian,
And the eternal recurrence which will
Men with toys and invented facts come
Upon the scene throughout the ages whether
Orange stained or puffed up bare chested on
A horse with a studded name and it is angels
For whom we wait.
Peace draws little if any blood, angels are in-
Capable of crime. Their weapons are simple
And plain: reason and heart and the ability to
Withstand pain until the hooded stranger is
Ukraine, Ukraine, the world sees the Russian
Shame you are enduring. Stay strong. Stay
Steadfast. Traitors, collaborators, hawks and
nuts—all window dressing you must face as
war comes to your doorstep.
The world believes in you Ukraine. We believe
Because to do otherwise would be to throw away
Our humanity, out dreams, our notions of a bit of
Heaven in the streets of the everyday lives we
Lead and cherish as best we can.
History, you Joycean Daedalus, at the ramparts,
At the castle tower ledge, spying the inevitable,
The days and nights of horror, red night skies
Scattered bomb fires next to stars, next to planets
Next to glance of those dying.
Caesar to Caesar, Napoleon to Napoleon, Hitler to
Hitler, Mussolini to Mussolini, Stalin to Stalin—for
Any good achieved in the short-term, long-term mistress
History paints them as nothing more than cons and
May have beens, soiled tissues on the street.
History, you angel of redemption, will open the gate
To place the martyrs, the heroes, and the comic turned
Valiant moral victor at their rightful place, the place
Where men, women and children of Ukraine can live
In peace having made their unforgotten stand.
Tanks and marching soldiers and planes
Overhead and civilians who may as well
Have targets on their chests.
Hints, preparation, and the timbre of talk
That some call diplomacy but is a shell game
For one set on starting the test.
Expansion of empires and borders be damned
Mindsets a game of chess with pawns and peasants
And would be kings all set.
War, the crunching sounds of artillery landing on
Homes and schools are war even when named as
Innocuous a title as a peacekeeping force.
Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan shock and awe at every
Turn. Freedom the only loser in each of these lands.
The return of terror as if scripted for a movie reel.
Add to this list Ukraine.
There, near the land bridge
Among the willows that hug and
Feed at the river’s edge, along the
mud flats that dip near the water
After rains wash them closer to the
Lip, like the lips of terra cotta water
Jugs with their smell of centuries, of
Toltecs, Aztecs, Incas, Greeks, Romans
And the Atlanteans whose land bridge
Was swallowed by the waters of
March, April, and May and went
with such an ocean flush taking with
it the knowledge Socrates spoke about.
Now the land bridge between Russia
And the West is being swallowed by
The guns without roses that line
The streets of Ukraine and the same
Knowledge, the same unique human
Thoughts are being drowned out by
Indiscriminate bombings and ego
Run a mock. But this time Atlantis
Does not go without a fight, not
Without the courage that futures
Will know about
Emilio Morenatti / AP