The Ukraine Collection
I was born two years before the outbreak of WW 2. I grew up in the shadows of war: the air-raid sirens, the nights sleeping in shelters, the shattered glass in the mornings after the bombs, the fear ...and my father away at sea. Now children are being subjected to far worse than this. How can this be?
I am sure that you, like me, are feeling a complex range of emotions over the events in Ukraine: rage, compassion, revulsion, pity, impotence, fear, incomprehension, apprehension, despair …
Depending on where you are in the world, you may already be taking what action you can to help – through cash donations, collecting and dispatching medical and other supplies, putting pressure on your government to welcome refugees displaced by this insane conflict, etc.
I have suggested something which would show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people - and indeed with the Russian people too, who are suffering the consequences of actions most of them had no part in initiating.
We have all contributed some poem texts focusing on reactions to the current crisis. These texts are either own original work e.g. Rod Bolitho or already published work by others, e.g. Wilfred Owen.
In case you feel collecting poems is a futile gesture, just consider this quote from Edward Everett Hale
‘I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything , but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.’
The Ukraine Collection is nearly 200 pages long! The full collection can be obtained by mailing Alan Maley on email@example.com
When men deranged and warped by power
Lose all control and seize the hour?
When our world is swamped with lies?
A little part of all of us just dies
When those lies are voiced and widely spread?
That’s when we start to count the dead.
When evil and mendacity prevail
And we look on and all our leaders fail?
To those brave enough to challenge and refute the lies?
The men in black appear and take them by surprise.
Oh, we know too well what happens, and yet ….
What of these tyrants and the men in black
Who cruelly rule the streets and squares
And simply hope that no-one cares
As they prepare each new attack?
Should we just stand aside and fret?
So shall we just devote each day
To putting in our online orders,
Hoping all this will be resolved
Without a need to get involved,
Just trusting that our island borders
Will keep the vileness far away?
But deep down, we all know so well
That this is no Frostian forked way
Offering a choice for us to make.
Instead there is a path to take
If beliefs and values are to stay
To fight off truth’s planned death knell.
Thinking of You
In memory of the Ukrainian dead at the hands
of Vladimir Putin, March 2022.
We walk amongst thousands of names
in a Sorian graveyard and stop to read
Machado’s words for Leonora, wreaths
from Associations and Government
freshly laid on her tombstone, the poet
buried in Colliure speaks his lament
with iris and rose picked from the plot
by the Duero, where the poplars unbent
With lovers’ names, shapes as dates,
grow out of its waters along with hill
and verge, a world downsideup, states
of disarray, a silence before the kill,
cities under siege, bodies stacking up,
another exodos from far off Ukraine
where life withers beside a buttercup
as the river brings in a slanting rain
And we ascend to the warm Parador
named after the poet, our fingers
in a love-knot for the climb to our
food and wine, and coffee outdoors
in the evening chill makes us almost
forget the moment we are living in,
but not so my dreams of a ghost
with thousands of names and one.
When will …?
Tian An Men,
When will they ..?
The Killing Fields.
When will they ever …?
Oradour sur Glane.
When will they ever learn?
The Fosse Ardeatine,
St Bartholomew’s Day.
When will they ever stop?
Is it in our DNA?
Does letting blood calm the troubled spirit?
The September Days,
The massacre of the Innocents…
Might as well have another one – Kyiv maybe?
Russia bombs to settle scores,
But as it does, it opens sores.
Fear, loss and pain.
Yet, as the bully achieves its goal,
It visibly forfeits its soul.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
The Ukraine Collection
ed. Alan Maley, UK
Creating a Story Book for Children
Motikala Subba Dewan, Nepal
Found in Translation
Jane Spiro, UK
Jamie Keddie, Spain
Charles Hadfield, New Zealand
Perceptions of Special Teachers as Described by Vietnamese Students
Phuong Le, Vietnam
Poems to Stories
John Kay, UK