I recently participated in a couple of readings dedicated to addressing the Russian war in Ukraine. One event I had a hand in organizing. I was honored to be asked to read for the other.
March 15 there was this event
Lyn Coffin and Leopoldo Seguel organized it and had the wonderful idea to have a minute of silence after each reader which was a powerful approach. Too often poetry audiences feel like they have to respond with applause or sighs, or something else. (For my readings, on occasion, it results in people leaving the room!) The silence after a good poem can be powerful and I used Leopoldo and Lyn’s technique to organize a similar reading on the topic of Ukraine for the Subud International Cultural Association-USA branch, or SICA-USA. I am the Chair of this 501(c)(3) organization, which is the cultural wing of my spiritual community.
People come to poetry in times like these. 19th century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé once said: “Poetry is the language for a state of crisis.” If this is true, and I think it is, you’d think poetry would be more popular these days as we seem to limp from one crisis to the next. But poems help me get through challenging times, as well as mark the joyous occasions.
One other beautiful thing Lyn and Leopoldo did was to ask participating poets to write new work for this occasion. Lyn is right on when she says that reading old poems about war is something that has been done before. It should not be too hard to get something to read for the occasion as the atrocities the world is witnessing are intense. For most poets, it wasn’t an issue. So in this post I’d like to present my poem read at both events and also post links to the complete readings.
It appears to me that there is an Aquarian Age shift in our world regarding war. The speed at which sanctions have been approved and armaments have been supplied to the fearless Ukrainians is unprecedented. This does not bring back the thousands of civilians who have died in war crimes, but it gives hope that their lives will have had some meaning and some positive effect on the world going forward, but then my poem says it better than I can here. Peace be with you.
The poem has just been published at Journal of the Plague Years.
The entire March 15 event:
The Poems for Ukraine poetry reading held on 17 March 2022 was a special ZoomMuse Poems for Peace poetry reading. Poets included Paul E Nelson, Ingrid Bruck, Pam Galloway, Daphne Alexopoulou, Dora Odarenko, Ann Graham Walker, Emmanuel Williams, Riantee Rand, Adelia MacWilliam, and David Dephy. This event was part of a monthly series of ZoomMuse Poems for Peace poetry readings, co-sponsored by SICA-USA and SICA Canada. Poems for Peace is held on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 11 a.m. Pacific time/ 2 p.m. Eastern time/ 6 p.m. UK time.