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.

Gunboat Diplomacy

Gunboat Diplomacy

As project fear becomes reality

Threatening our neighbours with gunboat diplomacy.

Cameron and Osborne were quick to flee

Leaving us in the wreckage of what might be.

If this carries on we’ll be

Storming the beaches of Normandy.

Brainwashing from the Express and the Mail

Feeding us lies from nationalist hell.

All gobbled up without fail

By a bunch of people who can’t read too well.

Leading us off the rail

To cooperation’s death-knell.

You can forget collaboration

We’re on our own

Bought it on ourselves

As we start to moan.

As the prices rise

Have to take out a loan.

As the jobs evaporate

You’ll give out a groan.

‘Can’t get much worse’ I heard you say.

Think about that on your next pay day.

In zero hours heaven, no time to play.

While the millionaires are all making hay,

For you the skies only look grey.

So grit your teeth – it’s time to pay.

The Eton boys are running this show

Voted in with a Ho Ho Ho.

Taking back control to the status quo

So the rich get richer, the poor take the blow.

Building a country with a lot less dough.

For all us suckers it’s a world of woe.

Opher – 23.12.2020

War, war war. That’s the way it’s always been. Competition instead of collaboration.

A strong trading partnerships producing bonds leading to the longest period of peace.

The Anglo-Saxons, emanating from Germany, with the blood of the French Normans, the Italian Romans, and the Nordic Vikings  creating a mongrel race called the British.

Persuaded that they would be better off being apart.

Wealthy nationalists, who made a killing out of leaving these shores and leading us to disaster.

To leave the benefits of Europe for the isolation of uncertainty.

Crying For Ukraine – an anthology of antiwar poems.

I have just completed my book of antiwar poems. It is going in for publication today. This is the introduction.

Crying For Ukraine

By

Opher Goodwin

Introduction

I started writing this book at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine back in March 2022. I have been steadily writing poems as the news started to emerge of the horrors of war and the atrocities committed by the Russian army.

War is obscene.

Not only does it permanently traumatise the victims of violence but it also has an effect on the perpetrators. The soldiers are dehumanised, purged of emotions, stewed in terror and hate, fermented in horror. They witness their comrades slaughtered and maimed. They expect the same will happen to them. I can only imagine the slippery spaghetti of emotions that poison their nightmares and waking moments.

Human minds are weak. Violence and trauma permanently damages them. The soldiers are as much victims as those they are shooting. War eats minds like acid.

They felt immune to the normal restrictions of civilisation and free to indulge themselves. Their fear bred hate. Their experiences of seeing their comrades slaughtered bred hate. The stream of propaganda justified them doing anything. They felt free to rape, loot, pillage, torture and kill without any thought of retribution.

Young men were turned into brutes. Kind, tolerant, compassionate young men transformed into barbaric rapists, torturers and executioners. It was as if all morality had been expunged by the brutality of their experience. They became monsters.

It was terrible to witness the wanton destruction of modern cities as they were reduced to rubble by missiles and shelling. Unbelievable. These were things that happened in faraway countries not in civilised Europe in 2022.

It raised my awareness of just what had been happening in places like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, Myanmar, Lebanon, Libya, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so many more. They too had modern civilised cities destroyed by this disease. Just because they were further away did not make it any less shocking.

Is there no hope for mankind? Are we forever trapped in this cycle of violence and destruction? Do we constantly elect greedy warmongering leaders who, for their own vanity, greed or paranoia, stoke up hatred, racism and fear to go to war? Is there a major flaw in our DNA that makes us cruel and violent? It looks like that to me. We are the most vicious, cruel species on the planet. We never learn.

War is always justified by the perpetrators.

As the days wore on the atrocities grew. I watched the trail of death as the wanton destruction, the targeting of hospitals, schools and civilian homes took place, as the mass graves were exposed, the executions and torture. As the list of war crimes grew.

I listened to the feeble justifications – the eradication of neo-Nazis for example. That seemed absurd. For fascists who control their own people with secret police, lock up or poison all opposition and pump out lies and propaganda to complain about neo-Nazis is ironically incredible. It felt like bubonic plague criticising smallpox. Putin is a neo-Nazi.

Then we have the justification that NATO is moving on to the Russian borders with their missiles and threatening the very existence of Russia. I would find that easier to believe if it wasn’t for the way that Russia has been planning this for so long. Putin has been orchestrating a campaign to weaken the West just so that he could take over his neighbouring countries and rebuild the Soviet Union.

How has he been attempting to weaken the West?

Putin obviously saw the USA, EU and UK as major threats and sought to undermine them. To this end he set up an army of computer hackers to interfere with our democracy. This plan has been executed over a decade or more.

It is my belief that in the USA he set about first entrapping Trump with bribes, backhanders, business deals and hookers. If he couldn’t hold him through his greed he could control him through blackmail.

By targeting specific voters with carefully selected propaganda he was able to influence their vote. Putin was eager for division, fear and hate. Using immigrants, racial stereotypes and Muslim terrorism he turned voters and split the country. In a close election the pro-Russian Trump was elected.

Putin had engineered the election of an incompetent, pro-Russian fool into a seat of great power and in the process severely split and weakened the USA. Stage 1 complete.

Using the same tactics to undermine the democratic process in Europe Putin funded Brexit and used the same internet targeted messages to both get Brexit done and the incompetent clown Boris Johnson elected.

The EU was wounded by the loss of Britain and Britain was wounded by breaking with the EU. Not only is Boris Johnson useless but the ERG are a greedy bunch of self-serving extremists. Putin was able to use his oligarchs to infiltrate Britain and gain influence. They even got oligarchs into the House of Lords.

Through donations to Tory funds and individual politicians, including Johnson, Russia sought to gain influence.

While this was going on he was selling cheap gas and oil to the EU to make them dependent. He did not want them making too much of a fuss as he first flattened Chechnya, then Syria before moving into Georgia and Crimea.

There was hardly a bleat from the distracted West. We were struggling with the wave of mass immigration and Islamic terrorism (both largely of our own making through wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan) – wars, racism and terrorism that Putin was able to use against us to cause the divisions he craved.

I think Putin thought that while the West was weak he could incrementally start taking back the satellite countries lost from the Soviet Union. He thought we would bleat a little and turn a blind eye. He thought that he could smash into Ukraine, displace the government, put in a puppet regime like he’d done with Belarus and it would all be over in days. Then he could turn his attention on Estonia, Poland, Finland, and Moldova, picking them off one by one with little fuss from a weakened West.

How wrong he was. The Ukrainians are smashing his armies and embarrassing the hell out of the superpower Russia just like Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan had done with the USA.

War rarely goes to plan. The West was not so weak that it didn’t rally.

I watched day after day as the atrocities built up, the destruction took place before my eyes and the poor people of Ukraine were driven out of their homes with their lives in tatters. I watched at the death toll of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers rose and as the extent of innocent casualties was made public.

This was modern warfare. It was attrition. It was horrendous. Schools, theatres and hospitals were deliberately targeted. The war machine was brutal.

Most days I wrote a poem or two in an attempt to describe what I was seeing and feeling. I published those snapshots on my blog. Now, I have accumulated these anti-war poems into an anthology and I am putting them out as a book.

War is obscene. Can it ever be justified? Are we justified in arming Ukraine against Russia? Will this all escalate into a bigger confrontation – into World War 3?? Who knows?

As of now we are arming Ukraine with the latest weapons. We have stated that we wish to degrade Russia so that it will never be strong enough to wage this kind of war again. We are applying sanctions to permanently weaken Russia.

But the world is split. Russia has its allies in places such as China, India and Brazil. It appears that some of the world thinks that invading sovereign countries, reducing their cities to rubble, slaughtering civilians, torturing, looting and raping are OK.

Or is that all propaganda that we are lapping up?

Russia is now threatening to wipe us all out in a nuclear holocaust.

We are told that Putin is terrified of a coup, is suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s and exists in a paranoid state of dementia partially brought on by covid. He’s on his last legs, backed into a corner and is capable of anything.

I wonder how much of that is real?

All I really know is that war and violence are despicable and that we humans are the most terrible animals that evolution has thrown up.

Here’s to a world without war!!

Oh for a strong UN that could put an end to all these conflicts and bring these loathsome warmongering leaders to trial!

Here’s to an end to war and the start of real civilisation!

Here’s to the future!

Opher 6.5.2022

Poetry – National Interests

National Interests

National interests always come first –

Territory, oil or eliminating threat.

Enemies require neutralising.

We have to address the national debt.

Behind our leaders are financiers

Whose business interests run the game.

They pull the strings, rig elections

Use the media to point the blame.

They like wars; wars make them rich –

All that matters is power

Soldiers are expendable,

Cities lie in ruins,

As they turn the future sour.

Opher – 3.5.2022

It’s not national interests at all, is it? It’s the interests of a small elite.

War is a big money-maker.

They sell the arms. They sell the products to rebuild.

They knock it down and build it up. Win Win.

Their shares go mad. Their wealth increases.

Who cares about the people when there’s money to be made? Who cares about the death, destruction and maimed. Pawns in the game.

The stock market runs the show. Profit is the motive.

They are dicing with death.

The Corona Diaries – update

I’ve stopped doing my daily Corona Diaries. I’m no longer considering myself to be in isolation. Life is returning to ‘normal’. It has been pointed out that my life has never really been normal. But that depends on what you consider normal to be, doesn’t it?

The more I see how this country and the world are run the more antiestablishment I become. It’s appalling. There is no morality anywhere. It’s all a game of power and greed.

Democracy is always about choosing the lesser of two evils.

Politics is always about power. It’s a game of lying, cover-up and trying to fool the people while maintaining the status quo – ie. all the wealth still goes to the small elite while the rest of us receive as little as possible in order to keep us quiet.

Whatever happened to unions and a real anti-establishment Labour party intent on taking on the establishment and creating a fairer society? Is the propaganda being pumped out by the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express that strong??

Will we ever get impartial media and real exposure of the corruption??

So our clown is still in office despite having now been proved to have repeatedly lied to everyone and broken the law.

I’m sick of hearing that all politicians are equally as bad. They aren’t. There are shades of nastiness and incompetency. Out in the real world, politics makes one hell of a difference. Yes, they all support the establishment but the differences are immense. When the Tories are in power we have food banks, rough sleeping, starving kids, creeping privatisation and massive cuts to all public services. When Labour get in our schools and hospitals get properly funded and the poorest in society are looked after better. They are not as callous and cruel.

Then we have ineptitude and corruption. With this bunch of populist twerps we’ve reached an all-time low.

We’re repeatedly told that our clown got Brexit done. Yes, he did – and the extreme deal he stupidly signed is costing us £37 billion a year, putting up all the prices and threatening to break up the UK. It’s an ill-thought-through disgrace that is diminishing this country.

They say he got the vaccination programme sorted. He didn’t. That was the drug companies making a fortune and the NHS doing a valiant job despite ravaging Tory cuts.

They say he’s doing a great job in Ukraine. Well, he’s selling them arms and spouting his usual twaddle. I just hope the clown doesn’t get us thrown into a nuclear war!

Is this really the best person we could come up with? A clown good at spouting untrue soundbites – an over-ready chump with world-beating dishonesty?

Meanwhile, out in Coronaland, the virus numbers are going down. One wonders if that is just that they are no longer testing or reporting the numbers? We no longer know what is going on. So back to normal!!

Save the Big Dog!!

It’s been eight weeks since we had covid. As immunity only seems to last for 12 weeks I’m beginning to wonder what is going to happen next. In about 4 weeks’ time I will be susceptible again. Will the three shots I’ve had still provide me with background protection so that when I get it again it will not be severe? Will the government provide a fourth booster? Could we purchase a fourth booster?

Who knows? This government works on the mushroom principle. We are kept in the dark and shat on.

Johnson is hiding. Scrutiny and accountability are his greatest enemies.

The pandemic is far from over. South Africa is having its fifth wave, Bill Gates is predicting a much nastier, more infectious, more deadly strain. There are numerous new strains out there. But Johnson wants us to ignore it. He is the champion! He beat covid.

So, this week we have the local elections. I shall watch with interest as the brainwashed either trundle to the polls and, zombielike, vote in their slavemasters, or whether they wake up and kick their arses.

Then we have Putin. From various reports, he is a psychopath with Parkinson’s and terminal cancer who is looking to wipe out humanity in a fit of hubris. He would rather destroy the world than lose face.

The Russian people believe that Russia is in an existential crisis with NATO knocking on their door, a bunch of neoNazis at the gates and the West looking to wipe them out.

Whatever way you look at it the mess they have made of Ukraine is horrendous. Who could believe that a modern nation could be so destroyed? But then Putin did it to Chechen and is doing it to Syria and nobody was that bothered.

We’ll see. Wars have a nasty way of escalating and continuing. They cost trillions, kill millions and traumatise a whole load more. They make brutal killers out of young men. They create rapists and torturers. War has no winners.

Since we went to sleep with Covid the world has become a lot nastier for most of us. The wealthy are still getting richer and moving to places upstream of the fall-out. The rest of us could fry at any minute while struggling with the huge rise in the cost of living. The government refuses to tax the wealthy profiteers and is quite content to allow the poor to starve.

Welcome to global Britain with ready-made imaginary trade deals and record-breaking debt!

Welcome to Borisland the Brexit nightmare!

They fuck it up! We pay for it!

I hope we don’t get fried or ventilated soon! Take Care!!

Poetry – Bogged Down in Death

Bogged Down in Death

Bogged down in the mud –

                Targets for the taking.

Mutinous and exhausted

                Morale through the floor.

Witnessing horror.

                Souls aching. Innocents quaking.

They can’t take it anymore.

Blunted by terror,

                By what their eyes have seen,

They are mindless

                Killing machines.

Bodies litter streets

                Mass graves and executions,

Without hope, as in a dream, totally obscene.

Looting and pillaging,

                Raping and killing,

Insane with propaganda.

                No fear of prosecution,

Expecting death.

                No longer fighting for anything grander. 

Empty vessels drawing breath.

Colossal losses,

                Capricious missiles,

Carnage beyond imagination.

                Seeking fascism in the wrong place,

Driving democracy out

                From an entire nation.

The dance of death’s own disgrace.

Opher – 2.5.2022

As with most wars, it starts with expectations of a swift conclusion but ends in the reality of long-drawn-out attrition.

Propaganda steals minds.

Soldiers witness the horrors of seeing friends maimed and blown to pieces beside them. There is no skill – only luck. Living in the shadow of constant terror the mind becomes numb.

When the opportunity presents itself they seek revenge, an outlet, an orgy of release. They execute, rape, torture and exert their power. It’s all they have. They have ceased to be human. They are immune to conscience.

All that exists is death.

There is no end in sight, no escape – just more of the same until the orders are given or the bullet strikes.

Who is to blame? It’s always the ones safe in the bunkers giving out the orders.

Poetry – Unseen Wounds

Unseen Wounds

The wounds unseen

                Bleed into the mind.

Some will bleed forever

                Others leave a deep scar.

Lives have disappeared,

                Homes smashed.

Possessions lost,

                Stolen by a Russian Czar.

What help can we give

                To those who have

                                Been hurt so much?

Who mourn their loved ones?

Who can heal

                Wounds cut so deep

                                Into the tissues of brains?

Where do we find the funds?

Opher – 26.4.2022

The physical damage is obvious – the destroyed houses, the blown up schools and hospitals, bleeding, broken bodies and heaps of corpses tossed into mass graves.

The physical destruction wrought by war is devastating.

What is not so obvious are the wounds cut into peoples’ minds.

Those grieving for destroyed lives, for loved ones killed or maimed, for what should have been. Those who have lost so much.

What cannot be seen are the traumas created by witnessing the horrors, seeing death, seeing the dead bodies of those you have loved.

These images cannot be erased. These fears and grief cannot be comforted away.

These ae the injuries that destroy minds and last a lifetime.

War creates trauma.

Poetry – I think it’s you and me

I think it’s you and me

Who decides there’s a war?

I think it’s you and me –

Reacting to the facts we’re fed

By the powers that be.

Who fights in that war?

I think it’s you and me

Dying on the battlefield

For Queen and country.

Who loses a war?

I think it’s you and me.

Some gain wealth and power

But we live in austerity.

Opher – 29.7.2020

It’s the same mob who creates the wars and profit from them.

It’s the same mob who fight in the wars, get crippled and killed and end up paying for them.

It has always been thus.

We are conned and exploited. Inflamed by the media and manipulated.

Poetry – History Repeats

History Repeats

History repeats.

Lessons are never learned.

Fascists arrogantly strut.

Our cities burn.

The racist chants

Echo down the streets.

Frightened people keep quiet,

Civilisation retreats.

Politicians stir,

Seeking power.

Behind locked doors

Poor people cower.

The tribal game

Is played out again.

Every single person

Feels the pain.

Opher – 27.7.2020

When will we ever learn?? The same authoritarian garbage tinged with xenophobia and racist. It is always the same simplistic answers; the aggression; the fear; the anger; the wish to dominate and control; the wish to apply force; the scapegoating, superiority and arrogance.

We are faced with the rise of the right-wing with their racial purity and guns. Strutting with their violence, intolerance and aggression.

Fascism rises up and creates war. It has to be crushed back down.

Oh for an education system that creates empathy and compassion.

That would put an end to fascism. Much better than guns and bombs.

Fascism is a disease.