Spring is synonymous with hope, resurrection, and awakening. Sunlight and warmth bring smiles, memories of longer days, and warmer nights.
With barely a sigh of hesitant relief that the covid pandemic slid to the unmasking of people in many places, another disaster arose.
How do we reconcile this budding joy when the world is burning? When bombs fall on pregnant mothers and the innocent?
How do we see hope on the muddy snow-trodden road filled with humanity carrying their world in a suitcase, a stroller, or backpack?
Few people can translate what they feel into poetry, art, and the written word. I think this Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuk gives us an understanding. She lost her home in Donbas to Russian occupation in 2014 and fled to Kyiv, which Russians have sought to destroy.
Language is as beautiful as this world. So when someone destroys your world, language reflects that.”
Our Father, who art in heaven
of the full moon
and the hollow sun
shield from death my parents
whose house stands in the line of fire
and who won’t abandon it
like a tomb
shield my husband
on the other side of the war
as if on the other side of a river
pointing his gun at a breast
he used to kiss
I carry on me this bulletproof vest
and cannot take it off
it clings to me like a skin
I carry inside me his child
and cannot force it out
for he owns my body through it
I carry within me a Motherland
and cannot puke it out
for it circulates like blood
through my heart
our daily bread give to the hungry
and let them stop devouring one another
our light give to the deceived
and let them gain clarity
and forgive us our destroyed cities
even though we do not forgive for them our enemies
shield from me
my husband, my parents
my child and my Motherland
and lead us not into temptation
to go down with this rotting world
but deliver us from evil
to get rid of the burden of a Motherland –
heavy and hardly useful
Translated by Oksana Maksymchuk and Max Rosochinsky
The blossoming of the days ahead seems incredibly difficult and we breathe and pray for an end to this madness.
I hope a loosening of the chest begins and our breathing relaxes although all is not good with the world. But breathe hope anyway and step forward to find a way to joy. Leave behind the thoughts of fear and replace them with the thoughts of love and hope.
Seek out the crocus in the snow, the yellow of daffodils, and the budding roses. Notice when the grey sky lightens to shades of blue and the rays of sun stream through leafing trees and birds twitter and children sing.
Staying alive is what gives you a chance to shape the future.”Lyuba Yakimchuk