Sunflowers for Ukraine

Sometimes when there is a tragedy in a far-off place, the only thing one can do is perform symbolic gestures.  My family had ties to Ukraine until they fled violence 200 years ago.  Today people continue flee.  Since the invasion of Ukraine, I find solace in drawing, writing, and mending forgotten tears with a needle and thread.

Sunflowers for Ukraine

My eyes don’t see the explosions

a world away

still, the shockwaves course through me

images of shattered bodies and buildings

haunt as do the frightened

eyes of people displaced

by relentless violence

Part of my DNA


my mother’s people, Jews

fleeing oppression in Ukraine

washing up on these shores

and those of England and South Africa

while my father’s people fled

Lithuania, Latvia

boarding a ship to Scotland

driven by trauma

from the savage edicts of Czars, dictators, and Nazis

men mad for power at any cost

hasty to hate

It won’t stop

It will shapeshift into different madmen

in different countries

All I can do is remember

and draw sunflowers for Ukraine.

Drawings by the author

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