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 ‘Safety Advice’ by Erica Hesketh. Slava Ukraini!
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.