A Sword in Both Hands Media

Holodomor the “Terror-Famine” inflicted by Stalin’s Soviet Union on Ukraine

Near Dawn, Before the War

A Ukrainian Woman Confronts a Russian Soldier in Henechesk

A Sword in Both Hands Ukrainian refugees were treated as I would hope all refugees would be treated. Just month before the war, Afghan and Syrian refugees on the same borders where Ukrainians were welcomed, were confronted by barbed wire and armed soldiers.

On Poland’s Border: Afghan Refugees……….and………Ukrainian Refugees

The Half-Life of Portraits of War based on Lynsey Addario’s haunting photo of four murdered innocents fleeing a war zone, wearing clothes like my grandkids would wear, with a roller suitcase like mine, a little backpack like my grandson wears to school.

Bodies Responding to Contingent Times Nuclear saber rattling rattled me. And my dentist.

To My Wife 42 Years After the Premature Birth of our First Born

The Hospital is a Life is Light is Dust Both these poems respond to the intentional bombing of a maternity hospital

_______ Russian’s, forbidden to protest the war, did so by holding up blank placards.

A Long Rest Interrupted  The intentional bombing of cemeteries is a war crime.

Among Those Who Lay Claim to Ancient Lands No news article. Just an autocrat laying claim to land historically populated by Ukrainians

An Open Letter to the Poets, Editors, and Redditors Who Have Moved on From War

Witness, The Warring Lords and the Forever Price Zelensky witnessing the mass graves and tortured bodies in Bucha reminded me of Selah, Lot’s wife.

What Passes for Hope in the Time of Apocalypse   My first response to Putin’s “waving the nuclear sword” was to check the availability of potassium iodide on Amazon. 

The Search for War and Peace It’s Palm Sunday and the Pope of Rome calls for peace. It didn’t help.

The Last Line Spoken by the Actor Playing Lear One more nuclear threat from the Kremlin

In the Days Before I Die, I Recall the Last Time I Was Here Eighty years ago, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova hid from Nazis in a lightless cellar in Mariupol. This past month, she again hid in a lightless cellar in Mariupol. 

Dreams of a Recent Refugee Alone and a Long Way From Home

Mariupol, Mỹ Lai, Dresden, Tigray All sites of armies committing atrocities – in the words of Kurt Vonnegut

Demi-Sonnet for the Dead Mass graves. Many mass graves.

The Kind of Silence Heard When Musicians are Murdered A musician is murdered by Russian troops for refusing to perform

Yuri Kerpatenko was killed for ‘categorically refusing to cooperate with the occupants.’

The War Crimes of Ordinary Men Soldiers casually shoot two unarmed civilians in the back, rummage through their pockets and then, just as casually, scavenge the dead men’s property. It could happen here.

To the Person Wondering Why We Are Called Wanderers Often Jews driven from one place would seek refuge in a locale that just a few generations before they’d been driven from. Today, many Ukrainian Jews are again on the run.

Eating Pistachios Over Morning Coffee While Talking About War and Other Things Remember when the war was top of mind for everyone?

The Hungry Times and Uncertain Skies When Izium was liberated, there was joy and hunger and fear.

The Choices Men Make — like targeting nuclear power plants with missiles and throwing litter out the window of pickup trucks.

Ghazal For the Trees While this poem started a plea for it to be the last poem I’d have to write about Russia’s war on Ukraine, it became an inadvertent homage to Lesya Ukrainka, the 19th century giant of Ukrainian national identity and letters who wrote the epic fantasy/poem/play “The Forest Song.” In seeking a way to end the poem with hope, I discovered her biography and poetry. Finding the epigraph — In the forest nothing is ever mute, sealed the deal for me.  I had to end the poem with her work in mind.

Lesya Ukrainka (a pseudonym) left behind a legacy of poems, plays, essays and activism for the Ukrainian language.