Crying for Ukraine Paperback – 6 May 2022 – Antiwar poems from Opher Goodwin

Crying for Ukraine Paperback – 6 May 2022

These are the poems I have been scribbling while the horrendous war in Ukraine has been unfurling on our screens – the madness of Putin, the horror of the destruction of cities, the terror of people, death, maiming, the feelings, emotions and stupidity of such unfathomable violence. These are my reactions.

Poetry – One Day

One Day

One day life was normal.

                The next flung into fear.

One day our houses full

                Of things we hold dear.

Now the towns are scenes of death.

Invaders seek to steal our breath.

Our cities pounded into heaps of rubble.

We huddle in basements safe within our bubble.

One day life was normal.

Once we had a home.

Once our lives had meaning

Sweet as any poem.

One day life was normal.

                The next flung into fear.

One day our houses full

                Of things we hold dear.

It will rise again,

                Out of the ashes.

                                We will build again

                                                And heal the hideous gashes.

Opher – 21.4.2022

I’ve spent the whole of my life in the modern world without being touched by the terror of war.

The wars seemed to happen in other countries far away, to people who were not like me.

War seemed primitive, a relic of the past.

It felt that we had been up trade and relationship to such a level that war was inconceivable.

Then the Ukraine happened.

Poetry – Belligerence


Great city walls

Turrets and guardrooms,

Lances, bows

And cauldrons of molten lead;

Kingdoms come

And Kingdoms go;

Cities are built

And then destroyed;

Lands change hands –

Nothing is permanent.

Armies pour forth

To pillage and destroy.

Rape and death

Are dispensed

Without mercy.

It is the tale of history,

The tale of humanity

And I am left wondering why?

How life could be so much easier

For us all,

If not for the senseless


Of human nature.

To rule, to take, to hurt,

To terrorise and always seek more.

What a great waste!

What a terrible history!

What a horrific species!

How much better we could have done!

Is there no hope?

Opher – 2.10.2019

All around the world I see human beings putting so much of their wealth and energy into protecting themselves against other human beings.

Why are we so belligerent?

Why do we think that war and violence are ever acceptable?

We do some people think it is better to steal the wealth of others rather than work to make their own?

Just imagine what we could have achieved if we hadn’t wasted so much time, effort, innovation and lives on war.

Poetry – The Spider

The Spider

It is that time of year again. The large house spiders are on the move. The big males are off hunting females to mate.  They bounce across your carpet, veering and halting unpredictable.

They lurk in the recesses and under everything.

They are huge, dark and hairy. Their bristles are evil.

At night they emerge to climb walls and on to beds.

They appear in bath-tubs and showers.

They also loom even larger in my imagination!

I am an entomologist. I should know better. But childhood experiences combine with evolutionary instinct to tell me that these things are dangerous, evil and a malevolent force.

Nothing will persuade me otherwise.

We have a huge one in the house. My wife saw it scurry under the bath.

I know it’s there, somewhere.

The Spider

 Malevolently scurrying across the floor,

Scuttling to a standstill, assessing,

Watching with its many eyes,

Weighing up the scene.

Then darting into dark crevices

Impossible to squeeze into

To lurk and plan

Its evil re-emergence.

When darkness falls

It is there

Under the cushion

Under the pillow

Brushing the sleeping face

With its bristles

Legs and gnashing mandibles.

Delighting in its success.

No web

Or patient wait

For this one.

He is quick

And unpredictable,

Equipped with

Many legs

And a brain

That intends

To terrify.











No ordinary spider.

Opher 3.9.2015