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They Will Bloom When You Die

by Douglas Anthony Cooper

(A poem written in solidarity with the impossibly brave citizens of Ukraine.)

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“Caught on camera, the woman confronted a Russian soldier and asked him to keep sunflower seeds in his pocket so that they bloom when he dies. ‘Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here,’ she said.”

They Will Bloom When You Die

Where a woman, hand full of sunflowers
Dwarfs a tyrant, shames a soldier
Lays a curse upon cowards
There we who are small and watching
Merely watching, safe behind screens
Are maybe redeemed
And blue will rise over yellow

And we who are breathing, poorly
Air sick with lies, alone among friends
And starved of wonder
Look to a woman defiant
Hand full of seeds, tall with contempt
Who commands us to grow
And blue will rise over yellow

And they who are breathing, ablaze
Still breathing, and breathing
In spite of the traitors who tell them
And tell them again and again
That breathing is over
They will inspire the suffering air
And blue will rise over yellow

Where a woman, hand full of miracle
Seeds in her palm grown to flowers and now
To a field unconquered
Stands among liars and is by her standing
A truth, then the sky is the sky
And the field a nation
The fact of a luminous nation

And blue will rise over yellow