Sunday, February 27, 2022

Ukraine and the persistence of war

A song, written during the Vietnam War, came to mind this morning.  Turns out that the narrator for this YouTube video of a CBS show from 1967 is Leonard Bernstein.

The sorrow of war continues to haunt our world, as it has from time out of mind, intensified by the existence of nuclear weapons, thanks to the efforts of the United States to win a war.  In war, there are no winners.

The insanity of those who consider using nuclear weapons, including the United States, has never been more apparent.  The Ukraine is one of the countries that no longer has nuclear weapons but does have 15 nuclear power plants. 


"To put it simply, nuclear power plants are not designed for war zones," he added. "It seems exceedingly unlikely that Moscow would authorize deliberate attacks on these facilities, but they could nonetheless become targets in a war that will, in any case, disrupt their operations."


It Should Be Visible

If from Space not only sapphire continents,

swirling oceans, were visible, but the wars --

like bonfires, wildfires, forest conflagrations,

flame and smoky smoulder -- the Earth would seem

a bitter pomander ball bristling with poison cloves.

And each war fuelled with weapons: it should be visible

that great sums of money have been exchanged, 

great profits made, workers gainfully employed

to construct destruction, national economies distorted

so that these fires, these wars, may burn

and consume the joy of this one planet

which, seen from outside its transparent tender shell,

is so serene, so fortunate, with its water, air

and myriad forms of 'life that wants to live.'

It should be visible that this bluegreen globe

suffers a canker which is devouring it.

-- Denise Levertov


May there be peace for the people of Ukraine and all sentient beings.  Against all odds.



NewRobin13 said...

It is so disconcerting to read that Putin said the words "nuclear" -- a threat, a promise, a nightmare. We wait to see what comes next. How crazy will this go?
That poem is so beautiful. I will copy it and start my new "Saved Gems" folder on my freshly scrubbed clean and fully erased computer. There are big monsters like Putin and small monsters like hackers who destroy the security and peace of a simple blog world. We weep. We learn.

NewRobin13 said...

I just listened to the song. Oh it reminded me so much of why I listened to Tim Buckley back then when the war was raging in Vietnam. So beautiful, and it so tugs at my heart. Thank you for reminding me.

Sabine said...

Thank you for the song and the poem.