The View from Kyiv: “We Are Going to Fight for Our Land,” a poem by William Jackson
(Editor’s note: Mr. Jackson was moved to write this poem about a couple he saw interviewed on a February 28 news program. He omitted some details about their full names and exact location in Kyiv. Mr. Jackson, his wife, and son visited Kyiv in the last year of the Cold War. He said that he knew then that “they had the will for independence.”)
One cannot look away from riveting scenes of megalomaniacal war along the Dnieper:
For me, it was a young couple kneeling in the ancient Orthodox cathedral of St. Sophia—
As the sirens sounded a wailing chorus, Sviatoslav slipped the ring upon the finger of Arieva–
Lifted her veil, she kissed his lips, they shed a tear, and departed for the Territorial Defense Center.
As reported: everything changed in the hours before dawn, when Putin fired missiles from three directions into Kyiv–
—she is a deputy on the city council; he just completed two days of military training near the city—
Both knew the situation was hard but defiantly vowed “we are going to fight for our land.” They wed on invasion eve.
Air raid sirens instead of church bells were ringing in their ears, outside they saw the sky light up with explosions, it was scary…
“We maybe can die; and we just wanted to be together before all that. Maybe Russia will just get out of our country?”
The bride: “We have to protect the people we love. Maybe the government will just give us armor with which to fight back?”
Putin calls deterrence of Russia by the West a threat but offers to “negotiate.” Shades of Munich; and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact!
William E. Jackson, Jr.
Through three careers--college professor, government official in Washington, and journalism - Bill Jackson has enjoyed poetry more than prose.