Poems for Ukraine 08/04/22
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 have decided to publish some every week. Slava Ukraini!
Safety Advice by Erica Hesketh
The Song of Siskin by Mark Russell
Always lay her flat on her back, feet aligned
with the foot of the cot. Remember that
woollen blankets can be a choking hazard.
Keep her close to you at all times. Use your hand
to support the back of her neck. Remember that
a baby can drown in an inch of water.
Keep medicines and sharp kitchen utensils
out of reach and out of sight. Scan the sky
when you leave any building. Remember that
low-flying aircraft may not trigger the sirens.
Keep a suitcase packed. Memorise the locations
of your nearest shelters. Make sure your last
names match on your personal documents
to avoid being separated at the border.
Consider preparing Molotov cocktails.
Write the word CHILD on a piece of paper
and tape it to the back window of your car.
Write the word CHILDREN in white paint
onto the pavement outside the theatre —
as big as you can, this is important —
before you go belowground.
The Song of Siskin
On the day the Russian government try to tell us
That pictures of bound and executed civilians
Are faked by Ukraine to bolster world support,
Siskin return to my feeders in the front garden.
They feast loudly on the free Sonnenblumenkern.
A couple sit on the peanut tube that pine martens
Have hoisted up and onto the table in the night.
Chaffinch, nuthatch, great and blue tits join them.
When I stretch and scratch my scalp, they scatter
Into the wind, all but one, a female, pale with dark
Streaks, but clearly sensible and the least gullible.
She sits and stares at me, as if I am a gigantic liar.
‘семян подсолнечника’ she sings. ‘Get it right,
Pronounce it right, semyan podsolnechnika’.