Sunflowers

Photo by John Ramsdin from Unspalash.
Ukrainian flag. Image from Pixabay.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers of Ukraine,

the world turns toward you in admiration

as sunflowers turn toward the sun,

always facing the light.

A president, refusing to retreat to safety,

fighting side-by-side with his fellow citizens,

delivering eloquent messages of brotherhood

in the face of brutal attacks.

Civilians…men, women, and children

shine the light of courage and patriotism

into the darkness

of violence and aggression.

Young and old serve their country

standing in unarmed solidarity

in front of advancing tanks…

Fearless sunflowers!

Citizens making and stockpiling Molotov cocktails.

Civilians, men and women, learning to shoot guns.

People delivering food to brave soldiers…

Patriotic sunflowers!

A little girl giving a Russian soldier an earful and a slap!

The soldier turns and walks away…He knows he is

an unwilling puppet forced to attack his Ukrainian neighbors.

He can see that she’s a sunflower!

Men welding together roadblocks

from scrap metal and rebar.

Women constructing camouflage nets

to conceal Ukrainian tanks!

Babies being born in hospital basements,

into a world of devastated neighborhoods

and schools in ruins…

the tiniest sunflowers!

Ukraine, the nations of the world

stand with you in your fight for freedom.

We mourn with you the loss of loved ones.

We support you.

The sunflowers of Ukraine

shine brightly in this dark time,

always turning their faces toward the light…

Freedom-loving sunflowers!

Photo by Fabio Fisterol from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia

75 Comments

    1. Thank you so much, Mousumi for your thoughtful response. Yes, it is heartwrenching indeed! I don’t think the aggressor will come to his senses on his own. Maybe his own people, who are suffering economic hardship because of his thirst for power, can prevail upon him. I certainly hope so!

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  1. This is a pathetic state in Ukraine. Nobody knows what will be the exact outcome. The way you have depicted the situation with the help of sunflower is really appreciable. Let’s pray that better sense will prevail🙏💐

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    1. I agree, KK, that the situation in Ukraine is horrendous, and the outcome is uncertain. Last night, a nuclear power plant was attacked. Fortunately, the damage is minimal this time, but there are many nuclear reactors in Ukraine. If that pattern of attack continues, radioactivity could be released all over Europe, including Russia. This war seems to be the work of a madman! We need to do all we can to help Ukraine, including writing, hopes, and prayers! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Have a good weekend! ❤

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      1. I agree with you, Cheryl, the situation in Ukraine is unpredictable, but I think Russia, being neighbour, would be more affected, if radiation takes place. But then war frenzy is senseless. What is in our hands is to pray for peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A truly touching and compassionate poem Cheryl .. Your magnificent verse has me emotionally crying with sadness for the people of Ukraine .. and your sunflower analogy is beautifully appropriate .. I feel my sense of decency has been violated and hopefully commonsense will prevail and bring an end to this horrendous war … 🤗🌏💕☮️

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    1. Ivor, I share your distress and your feeling that your sense of decency has been violated. I don’t think Putin will come to his senses on his own, but maybe the measures the rest of the world is taking will help him to do so. We can all hope! I am glad you liked the sunflower, analogy. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, It means a lot to me. ❤ Take Frankie for a walk for me. Hope your weather is pleasant!

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      1. The weather is heavy and cloudy, but it’s not raining bombs here, so me and Frankie are going for a walk .. a little bit of rain ☔️ will help cleanse the sadness in my heart ❤️☮️🤗🌏

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful, enduring symbol, Cheryl 🌻 I do wonder how the Russian soldiers must feel. Surely no-one wants this war except Putin, and anyone close to him hoping to get rich from it, as oil prices continue to rise. It’s a double irony as fossil fuel use continues to devastate our environment.

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    1. Thank you, Ingrid, for sharing your thoughts. I saw one Russian soldier commenting early on that he couldn’t tell a Ukrainian soldier from a Russian soldier. “They look like us!” I also heard that the Russian soldiers were deployed thinking that they were only going on training maneuvers and then found themselves in an invasion. It was also reported that the Russian soldiers are short on food. Very sad!

      What a legacy Putin has chosen for himself! To the war crimes and the negative impact on the Russian economy, add the destruction of the environment!

      Take care, Ingrid. Hope you and your sons are feeling better! ❤

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  4. A beautiful and compassionate poem, Cheryl! The citizens of Ukraine and the citizens of Russia are so undeserving of the cruelty and evil from the hands of this dictator. Let’s pray there will be an end to this war soon. Take care and stay safe. 🤍

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    1. Thank you, Eugenia, for sharing your thoughts. I absolutely agree with you. Both Ukrainians and Russians are victims of this dictator’s lust for power. I hope the aggression against Ukraine soon ends and that Putin exits the world stage. All the best! ❤

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    1. Thank you, Punam, for your kind comment. It means a lot to me. ❤ Your poetry about the invasion expresses so poignantly what I am also feeling. Even if there is little else that we can do to help, we can still use the power of words. 🙂

      Most of the world is outraged and alarmed that a corrupt dictator is attempting an unprovoked takeover of a sovereign nation and is targeting civilian areas and nuclear facilities. Both Ukrainians and Russians are suffering from the invasion of Ukraine. I think Putin has made a miscalculation, and I hope that soon he will no longer be in power. May Russia soon withdraw from Ukraine!

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    1. David, your comment is so kind. The situation is very personal to me and must also be so to you. I feel the pain of both my Russian-born family members and my Ukrainian-American next-door neighbors. Thank you so very much for your response. Take care. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  5. You named the Ukrain citizens “the sunflowers”. I’m amazed by the beauty of this naming and comparison.

    We all are 🌻 the sunflowers, headed towards the sun.🌞

    Your perspective is more human, different from the news channels. They are full of political propaganda.

    Some accuses Putin who threaten the Ukraine and some praises Putin for teaching the lesson to the USA.

    But let’s be clear — “We’re just watching”, chilling at home, the fear and terror can be seen in the eyes of victims.

    Economically and humanely, this war is affecting all of us.

    The Ukraine-Russia, and the similar issues, must be properly solved;

    there should be a solution for the humanity and human issues. For example, quality education.

    Thank you so much for the poem, Cheryl. 👏👏🤗

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    1. Thank you, Lokesh, for sharing your thoughtful perspectives. Though Ukrainians have chosen the sunflower as a symbol of their country, I agree with you that we are all sunflowers turning toward the sun. All over the world, people love their families and their countries and want to live in peace with their neighbors. We need leaders who pursue these goals and not their own personal motivations.

      I love my country, but I am not blind to the times we have failed to live up to our ideals. So it is with all countries. So it is with all of us as individuals. It is a proud moment for the Ukrainian people bravely fighting to defend their country.

      Many Russians do not even know a war is going on because news outlets are being closed down or controlled and social media are being suppressed. Russian soldiers in Ukraine have stated that they were deployed thinking they were just going on maneuvers and found themselves in the middle of an invasion. Russians and Ukrainians have many family ties and do not wish each other harm. The war is Putin’s personal empire-building agenda.

      My late husband’s family came from Poland and Belarus, and my two youngest children were adopted from Russia. My son fears that he may be attacked because of his Russian heritage. My Ukrainian-American neighbors fear for relatives still living in Ukraine. I feel their pain. We all hope for peace.

      I very much admire India and its democratic ideals. I am sure that there are problems in India, as in all countries. I can relate to your concerns about the quality of education. Whatever the educational system, you must take the initiative to educate yourself. In the future, you may be able to be a positive influence on education. Your generation is inheriting many problems, including climate change and a global pandemic. I know you want to be a part of the solutions, and I wish you all the best! ❤

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  6. I, like so many, am shaken to the core these past ten days; it is surreal, terrifying and heartbreaking to see the trauma and wreckage. Your thoughtful and heartfelt poem gave me light in the darkness, the strong sunflower shining bright, a beacon of hope. May it be so. Cheryl, a touching and emotional post in these dark times. hugs xx

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    1. Thank you, Annika. I deeply appreciate you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Like you, I find the situation surreal and tragic. I am happy that you found my poem meaningful. The patriotism and bravery of Ukrainians are inspiring and give us hope. Hugs and XX to you. Wishing you some peaceful moments in the days to come.

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      1. Bless … thank you for your wish of peaceful moments … I’m learning to treasue them more than ever and just returned from the garden centrre with some beautiful plants and a bamboo for the garden! A real lift of the spirits … yet the news is never far away and it is hard to concentrate on things.

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  7. A fitting poem for the concerning times – history tells us, like weeds, unchecked aggression always breaks containment. Let the sunflowers watch over and shine the way . I just hope some day we have equal concern for our own southern border as we now have for Ukraine’s.

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  8. Cheryl, you captured the spirit of this nation – I for one, will gladly ‘suffer’ (such a relative term) higher gas prices, which in turn means higher everything else, if it helps stand alongside Ukraine as they stand against the invaders. For me, it’s such a small ‘price to pay’ for another’s freedom.
    hugs

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    1. Thank you for your heartwarming comment. ❤ I think a lot of people agree with you that we will pay a little more if it helps Ukraine. Putin's agenda surely does not stop with Ukraine, and he needs to be stopped. May Russia go home soon! Have a good week, Laura! ❤

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  9. thank you for this important message, Cheryl. My hope is that the perseverance and courage of the Ukrainian people will prevail as the Russian people, including soldiers, see we are all sunflowers.

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  10. I’m moved beyond words, Cheryl. You’ve wholesomely captured the situation in Ukraine in this beautiful poem. Such a skilful use of imagery and symbolism to explicate the situation at hand. It’s bleeding, it’s terrible, yet the Ukrainians hold much hope, an undying hope for their beloved country. This poem’s powerful and wonderful in its entirety. Sending such flowers of hope to Ukrainians too. Thanks for sharing and for following back too. You’re a great personality and I’m glad to connect with you. ❤❤

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    1. Thank you for your kind response and for sharing your thoughts, Lamittan. My neighbors are Ukranian-American and have family members in Ukraine.They liked the poem. Wish I could do more to comfort them. I look forward to reading more of your work! Have a beautiful day! 🙂

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  11. Beautiful poem Cheryl. I believe it’s important to concentrate on what we can do to help/show our support as opposed to fixating on the things we can’t control. Have a wonderful weekend Cheryl 🙏

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