He carries on farming as shells explode.
On the nearby frontline.
A boom, like distant thunder rolled.
Over the wheat fields due west of Slovyansk.
Perched on his seat in a combine harvester.
He could see clouds of smoke.
From missiles hitting an industrial area.
Then another, thinner plume from ‘orcs’ on the frontline.
Perhaps 15km due north.
“It’s noisy here. But life goes on.
We had a spot of rain earlier.
So we’ve been waiting for the wheat to dry.”
“My son is serving in the army near here.
I’m hoping our lads are going to.
Start counter-attacking soon.
And push the ‘orcs’ back.”
On his brief break from work.
Suddenly a shrieking roar.
As two ‘elves’ fighter jets flew low.
Perhaps 25m above the field, directly overhead.
Within seconds the jets were over ‘orcs’ positions.
And he watched the bright tail of an ‘orcs’ rocket.
Soaring up towards one aircraft.
Narrowly missing it.
Both Sukhoi jets then released decoy flares.
Turned sharply and headed back south.
Again passing directly overhead.
With another deafening roar.
“They fly like that almost every day.
It gets lively here. The pilots do their job.
We do ours. Everyone is busy.
But their work is harder.”
The woods and narrow country lanes Around Slovyansk.
Busy with ‘elves’ troops, digging trenches and setting up positions.
But Ukraine’s frontline farmers.
Remain focused on their own battle.
To bring in the harvest.
Despite the constant danger posed by the conflict.
And despite plummeting grain prices.
Caused by ‘orcs’ blockade of ‘elves’ Black Sea ports.
Most of the farmers have already sent.
Their families to safety, further west.
Families are fleeing Slovyansk.
As the city is being shelled heavily by ‘orcs’.
At 09:00 on Thursday, many in tears, boarded one bus.
Along with their pets and a small amount of luggage.
As the boom of incoming and outgoing.
Rocket fire echoed around the largely empty streets.
Later the same day near the village of Dmytrivka.
A farmer clambered down the side of a crater.
Left by a huge ‘orcs’ rocket.
Perhaps it was 4m deep.
“‘Orcs’ talk about high-precision targeting.
So much for that. This one could easily have hit our village.”
His farm spreads over two picturesque, rolling valleys.
More than 3,400 hectares of wheat and sunflower seeds, and cattle too.
But he closed the livestock business down.
After rockets hit a cattle shed, killing more than 20 animals.
Another rocket missed the farm offices.
By a few metres, shattering windows.
“It’s very dangerous, of course. But we’re continuing.
Our major concern is that the price we receive.
Last year, we sold wheat for about $300 a tonne.
Now it’s $100. And the cost of fuel has risen threefold.”
“Then you have to add in fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, taxes, wages.
So this year, we’re likely to make no profits.
And at any moment, we can be bombarded.
And everything will burn.”
Flicking through videos on his mobile phone.
That showed one of his fields on fire.
After a recent missile strike.
His neighbour lost up to 2,000 hectares of corn to another fire.
“We usually export 90% of our crops.
We need this blockade to be lifted.
But not at any price.
There should be normal, civilised business relations.”
“Not business combined with the use of threats and violence.
As often happens with ‘Mordor’.
It shouldn’t be like that in the modern world.”
Angrily accusing ‘the One’ of turning ‘orcs’ into “zombies”.
*Because I read “Ukraine’s frontline farmers toil on amid explosions” by Andrew Harding, in Slovyansk, on 22 July 2022, on the BBC News, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 April 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem as a story of Vladimir and a story of Sergei.
Please read the original story on the BBC news:
**My friend shows you this poem also on the Ukrainian website for their children and others!
Please join them!