POETS REACHING

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

It’s not only.

The fighting that.

Families are fleeing.

In Sumy.

 

The northern region has.

The only working border.

Crossing in the country.

From ‘Mordor’.

 

Making it.

The main route.

For ‘elves’.

Escaping occupation.

 

Every day.

Dozens of people.

From areas ‘Mordor’ has.

Illegally claimed.

 

As its own endure.

A draining journey.

To reach territory.

Controlled by ‘elves’.

 

The Kremlin says.

The occupied regions turned out.

To vote for ‘the One’ this month.

In large, enthusiastic crowds.

 

But that’s not.

The picture.

Painted by those.

Who reach Sumy.

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

This week, she and her husband.

Travelled three days.

From a village.

In the southern Kherson region.

 

That’s now full of.

‘Orcs’ soldiers.

“There are so many of them.

They set up in the houses.”

 

“They’re in the fields.

Their vehicles are.

Moving all over.

It was really scary.”

 

“It was really scary.”

She confided.

When she finally reached.

A reception centre.

 

She says life under occupation.

Changed her, radically:

“I had no will. No energy.

My spirit was crushed.”

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

“We want Kherson.

To be Ukraine.

We really do.

But we don’t believe it, anymore.”

 

She told you quietly.

Her whole body.

Sagging from all kinds.

Of exhaustion.

 

To reach Ukraine.

The pensioners had to drag their bags.

Across a two-kilometre stretch.

Of no-man’s-land.

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

An aid group.

Then shuttles people.

From the border.

To a facility.

 

Where it offers.

Phone calls home.

Train tickets onwards.

Tea and hot food.

 

All arrivals.

From occupied territory.

Face a security screening.

By their own country.

 

“When I look at these people.

I remember myself.”

The aid group’s boss says.

It’s not so long.

 

It’s not so long.

Since the boss left her own home.

In Bakhmut.

A city since razed to the ground.

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

After three days.

Travelling from occupied areas.

She is finally able to call.

Her son to say she is safe.

 

“I can’t find the words.

To explain that their former life.

Unfortunately.

Will never continue.”

 

She knows that.

“When we were driving here.

I started to cry.

I breathed the fresh air.”

 

“I breathed the fresh air.

Our ‘elves’ air.”

The pensioner tells you.

Her voice low but intense.

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

For two years.

In Kherson.

She’s been pressured.

To deny her identity.

 

Take an ‘orc’ passport.

Even vote for ‘the One’.

Who ordered the invasion.

Of her country.

 

“We are ‘elves’.

We want our country to flourish.

For our children and grandchildren.

To live in peace.”

 

She tells you.

Then starts to cry.

“I’m sorry.

It’s really hard.”

 

It’s slowly sinking in.

That she is free.

But Ukraine is.

No closer to peace.

 

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They handed their home.

Of 53 years to a neighbour.

 

So she and her husband.

Gave up everything.

They left their ducks.

Chickens and dogs.

 

 

*Because I read “Russia Ukraine war: Fleeing embattled border villages” by Sarah Rainsford on 22 Mar 2024, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 Apr 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem as a story of Zoya and Mykhailo, and a story of Kateryna.
Please read the original story on the BBC news:

Russia Ukraine war: Fleeing embattled border villages (bbc.com)