And Still The Wheel *

Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times, March 7, 2022
“Refugees from Ukraine waiting for transportation to continue their onward journey from Medyka, Poland, on Sunday.”
NYT article by Austin Ramzy and Marc Santora, March 7, 2022

spins us from still waters,
that warm bath, our mother’s

story tapped to us, the pings
of distant whale code,

language of palm and fingers
cupping us to her breast,

the soft syllables of welcome
we recall in the muzzle

of a shepherd dog
laid upon our thigh,

the touch of a grandfather
lifting us, three years old,

distraught on the floor,
pressed against a wall,

Ivor Prickett for The New York Times, March 7, 2022
“The number of people who have fled Ukraine has reached 1.7 million in just 11 days, the United Nations said — the biggest and fastest dislocation in Europe in decades.” NYT article by Farnaz Fassihi, March 7, 2022

and hugging us to his cheek,
a soothing roughness,

a scent of after shave
we will carry with us

when the wheel spins us
dizzy with the clatter

of the world’s booming gongs,
clanging cymbals, missiles

cascading down upon people
going about their beautiful

ordinary tasks, rising to poetry,
music, art, a spiritual canon,

gathering their daily bread,
planting gardens, tucking children

into beds, kneeling beside them,
praying the Lord their souls to keep . . .

* For Larry McGraw among others

Erin Schaff for The New York Times, March 7, 2022
“Ukrainian refugees flee west to Poland, leaving everything behind.” NYT article by Erin Schaff and Dan Bilefsky, March 7, 2022