A poem for Ukraine

Ready for a training run up Hartside

I’ve been writing poetry, instead of getting on with the serious business of fitness training. Maybe it’s a kind of displacement activity, but I’ve been thinking again about the meaning and purpose of journeys – and about displacement.

I’m doing this journey from choice. Nobody is forcing me to leave home and launch into the unknown on a six-week trek. And (at least in theory) I could still pull out if I decide it’s just too overwhelming.

What a contrast to those millions of overwhelmed and displaced people, young and old, from Ukraine. At times I feel ashamed to be focussing on such a frivolous enterprise as Highway Cello in the face of this tragedy and awfulness.

So here’s a poem for Ukraine. It’s not of any use, of course, but I needed to write it. It’s protest, and support, and solidarity, and hope. Just as every turn of the pedals will be, on a journey that unlike so many is a journey of choice. It’s called I saw you dancing:

I saw you dancing in the rain once;
you weren’t dressed for the rain, or for dancing,
I thought; you were just dancing, wet.

I saw you dancing in the dark once,
alone; I couldn’t see your face;
it was too dark, I thought, for dancing.

I saw you dancing when the tanks were there,
and all our homes were gone; I thought
your face blue-bruised, your yellow hair burnt black.

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