As the news every day is dominated by the horrendous war in the Ukraine, I was wondering how on earth a poem could be written that wasn’t just a rant about the way things have developed. I watched a report on the BBC given by Clive Myrie before he left the Ukraine. He told how the Ukrainians are determined not to give up. He told the story of the woman who came out of her basement to feed the pigeons – that image stuck in my mind – this was someone desperate to retrieve some part of her normal daily routine.
‘It was the first time in 48 hours that I had left our lodgings – a basement car park in the heart of Kyiv which had become a make-shift bomb shelter…
I didn’t really see her face, but at her feet were several cooing pigeons. Every now and again, a shower of birdseed would tumble from her hand. She was wearing a heavy-looking grey coat, keeping out the late morning winter chill.
The woman feeding the pigeons would have spent the past two days in her own basement as well, and I thought it was interesting that one of the first things she did was to feed the pigeons – as if nothing was awry. An ordinary day out, a bit of fresh air, with no threat of death from above.’
With the image of that woman in my mind, I compared that with my weekend.
Seeds of Hope
after a two day curfew in Kyiv
a woman steps out from the basement shelter
a shower of bird seed tumbles from her hand
for the pigeons at her feet
I planted sunflower seeds
they’ll shelter safely in the ground
fed by gentle showers of rain until
they raise heads to the sun
Photo by Bonnie- Kittle Unsplash