It is during the spring, when the honeysuckle’s white sliver of petals showers the roadside with sweetness, that the last mile and a half of my morning jog seems less formidable. This morning I violated all jogging protocols and paused to smell the bush’s fragrance. I wondered if the honeysuckle blooms in Ukraine.
For months I have felt helpless as I watched, from afar, the slaughter of the Ukrainian people, the rape of their woman, starvation of their children, demolition of homes and businesses, destruction of land, water sources, the killing of all things living. How does the heart endure?
It takes a special set of eyes to see a path that leads beyond helpless, beyond hopeless, beyond despair. I have rarely seen those eyes hidden beneath the rim of his baseball cap, but the voice of poet GF Korreck makes me laugh, helps me find delight in the ordinary, and stirs my consciousness . . . as he did a little over a month ago when he asked me and a group of poets to contribute to an anthology of poems about Ukraine.
Under GF’s leadership, 29 poets created a masterpiece titled Busy Griefs, Raw Towns: a poetic response to the brutality of war in Ukraine. The book is being published by Schuler Books—with 100% of the proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee aid in Ukraine relief efforts.
Poetry cannot stop violence. But it can awaken people. It can touch us. It can uplift us. It can remind us of our soul, our humanity, and what it means to be part of a world, GF writes in the introduction.
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I like to think poetry plants honeysuckle along the roadsides of despair.
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