Poets have always responded to war by writing poetry — it’s what we do. Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on 24th February this year people started sending The Friday Poem their poems about the war — poems about resistance, poems of protest, and poems about specific individuals affected by the fighting. These are stories of courage, grief and hope. We decided to publish some every week as Friday Poems for Ukraine. Here’s ‘Flag Iris’ by Karen Mooney. The iris is a symbol of courage, wisdom, friendship and hope, and in Ukrainian it is the flower of February. Slava Ukraini!
Dug in, suppressed, yet holding on,
they build an underground network
from which they fight their way out.
Military green swords cut a swathe
to stand guard over the principals
whose lazuline folds encase a rising.
From darkness, they bring forth light,
unfurl to expose a core of ripened gold,
as they stake their claim to freedom.