Suppose Sunflowers Were Blooming in Ukraine. {poetry}


As the war in Ukraine rages on, people feel helpless to stop what is happening — not only to Ukraine and to its people, but to what feels like the waning days of democracy in the world.

After recent years in the US and across the globe, watching totalitarianism and dangerous nationalism on the rise, we certainly should have been able to predict this happening somewhere in our world. And, actually, many did make very accurate, precise predictions.

It is almost unbearable to watch and to stay informed. Other than sending donations, there is little the average American can do. Or is there? One could argue we are in a battle here in the United States.

The fronts are not only at places like the takeover of the Capitol Building. People are fighting with each other in living rooms, on social media. Freedom of speech seems disrespected and people are attacked because of varied views. Propaganda is not something that only happens in Russia.

And yet Ukraine unifies some of these same people because they fail to see that on a smaller, less bloody level, they are fighting about the same values and beliefs: democracy, freedom, truth, autonomy.

These battles are happening all over the world. There were many countries at the UN General Assembly who abstained from voting against Russia’s aggression, even when it was known civilians were being targeted. It has been said by many wise people throughout history that those who refuse to stand up against injustice and crimes against humanity are as complicit as the aggressors themselves.

Our elders of past generations, who thought that they had planned to prevent just such a war from happening again, sadly minimized the story that centuries of history have told.

Suppose All The Sunflowers Were Blooming

The blood of our elders is rising up
From the thawing soil of Europe
We never could celebrate the
“War to end all wars”
Or the wars after that one

It feels like all the rank and file
Citizens can do is to not drink
Russian vodka anymore
Or send unmarked bills to a
PO Box in Poland hoping they
Reach the three million refugees
Or at least one of them

In the parliaments and Congress
They clapped and clapped
And clapped…
Even before President Zelenskyy spoke
As if that constructed a no-fly zone
Or provided needed planes.

Too bad for Ukraine
It is just on the wrong side of
The line in the soil
The one that would have given
This needed help

Suppose all the sunflowers were blooming
In Ukraine right this moment
The land covered with bright yellow
Would those Russians first dressed up to
Play war and then finding themselves in one
Continue with their medieval fighting tactics
Staring down at all of those yellow flowers?

They are blind to the faces
To the human faces they kill
And blind to the reasons they do it

What will Putin do with all that dust?
If he manages to achieve his
scorched earth campaign?
If he succeeds in annihilating this country
Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes.

And the clapping will continue to echo for generations to come.


Marie Turco is a poet and playwright who recently moved to Santa Fe, NM. She studied poetry under a mentor, an award-winning poet, for three years and has had her poems published in a number of publications, including Rebelle Society, Voices Project, The Mighty, Untitled, and others. Her poems were made into a play, “The Sanity Trials”, by The Bridge-PHL Theater Company in Philadelphia in 2018. She is beginning to work on a chapbook of poems. Marie also was a psychotherapist for many years, while continuing to write. She has also recently been working in textile arts, learning needle-felting.


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