Sunday Poem

Bread and Salt

If it was a wedding instead of war,
Dobropillia would be welcoming us
with a kobzar, bread, and salt.
Wheat fields would be glowing like golden flames
beside the road, alight with dignity and freedom.

The loam in those fields is free.
But now deep trenches as high as one man standing
on top of another extend from one end to the other
while craters just as deep pock the chornozem
from so many rounds of howitzer shells.
Europe, what more evidence, what more words do you need?
Humanity has always been divided into those
who love life and those who kill.

We’ve never been against giving grain to the hungry,
but we have always been against expropriations,
violence, and robbery.
You need to choose between MV and BAU
without it being the kiss of Judas.

by Volodymyr Tymchuk
from Plume Magazine, Issue #142 June 2023
Translation from Ukrainian, Dzvinia Orlowsky and Chard deNiord

*MV: moral values, BAU: business as usual