The warring language floats in the winter air
At the words of one dictator. People forget
Preparations for Clean Monday to begin the war.
Across the border, children wake up
In the night, to the sound of bombs,
A neighborhood grocery store will turn to ruin,
And old men, together with young women
Will take up their guns, to join the army.
Old mistrust rises poisoning words.
If I could halt the madness with a call
To prayer, a reminder of old kindnesses
We all so easily tend to forget.
Today Europe is a woman
Whose body has been sliced by the birthing
Knife, over and over, her cesarean
Wound badly patched birth after birth,
Her womb crisscrossed; flesh hardened
Along ridges of history written in blood.
Protect its life-giving womb, slice her no more.
Consider the early patches of snowdrops
Under the wheels of the tanks.
Would those who fly the bomber planes
Notice the change of seasons in the sky
For the peace it could bring, and fly back home?
Will neighborly kindness revisit memory?
The world lifts its hands in prayer as Europe
Suffers. This is no birth.
Stony Brook, 27 February 2022