knitted hat lying among debris in ukrainian city
Photo by Алесь Усцінаў on

Will We Be A Bystander to Genocide?

I was a peacenik in the sixties

when all we had was Viet Nam on T.V.

I grew up on the belief that peace must be met

with any price, but war.

Now I’ve turned my world upside down,

the Ukraine is fighting a difficult war

between men and men who are monsters,

so many of our roots are bound

by the very same blood in the soil.

These refugees are our family

carrying whatever one can hold

in a tote, or a bag, or a kennel.

One girl’s cat held onto to her jacketed shoulder,

shell shocked as her owner,

shy to the eye of the camera.

Are we Jews who know what freedom means?

Where are the Jews as bombs rain down?

For these  are modern Maccabees,

fighting against those that will take their lives,

that have destroyed their towns,

who’ve bombed pregnant woman and children.

Were we the ones who’ve said, “Never Again!”

After the war that took so much.

Holding arms length from a country,

whose civilians are beging terrorized,

and worse yet, killed.

I am not talking about just the Israelies,

no, where are world’s young men who say,

I believe in sacrifice.

In fear of blowing to smithereens,

we stand away and say, “Not me!”

We are on a ship’s whose helm

Is a madman searching for the Great White Whale.

The Russians are behaving no better than Cossacks

who burned down villages and raped the women

of Jews so long ago. Not so long ago.

It’s all in your point of view.

Democracy is so much like Judaism. 

There are just so many of us, and never enough

when we see the land on a map.

We’re a raggedy, threadbare weave of people

who lace the landmasses as little pools.

6,000,000 Jews died and the world looked away,

until it became almost too late,

but the damage was done,

schools were lost, and a culture destroyed.

Will we do the same again?

Be a bystander to genocide?

Still America’s borders do not accept refugees,

while a Charlie Chaplin movie comes to mind.

About Lisa Tremback

I started writing in Elementary school and was published in school and local newspapers. I graduated from Columbia College in Chicago and studied under the poet, Bill Knox. I have been published at Colorado State University's underground newspaper. I enjoy writing almost every day and love to write about my relationship with G-d.

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