Glory to the Women of Ukraine

Yesterday, International Women’s Day coincided with the 13th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  I could not stop thinking about all the challenges Ukrainian women are facing right now.  Their resilience and courage are commendable as they struggle to protect their families:  giving birth in bomb shelters, enduring perilous evacuations with small children, saying goodbye to husbands and sons, or staying behind to care for elderly loved ones.

 It is astonishing to witness all the ways women are taking part in the Ukrainian Resistance:   weaving camouflage nets to hide tanks, making Molotov cocktails, teaching first aid to volunteers, working in makeshift underground hospitals, and enlisting as soldiers to defend their beloved country.  Women of Ukraine, you are not alone.  The world is standing in solidarity with you.

In her poem, “Wisterical,” Ukrainian American poet Genya Turovskaya describes a struggle, not between humans, but between two forces of nature.  A Costa Rican beach … “called Playa Negra where the jungle meets the sea. The dense vegetation of the jungle and the churning surf seem to reach for one another across a narrow strip of sand.”

Wisterical

The shrieks of children

tumbling in the roaring body of the ocean

                 is glee.

But fill me with dread—glee? the ocean? children?

And the hysterical

           wisteria. That frantic and purple

                      emissary of the encroaching jungle.

I think the jungle will win, wind—in the end—its tensile vines

around the throats and raised swords of sun scorched monuments,

collapse the flag poles and balustrades, whatever stakes

           are planted there, will charge

the volition of its green abundance, wild against the wild

                     volition of the frothing ocean. Marry it. What children

will march in that conjugal procession with crowns of kelp

                                             and frantic purple flowers?

-Genya Turovskaya

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