Back to Babi Yar

Ukranian President Zelensky, Ukraine’s first JewishPresident, commemorates the lives and humanity of 33,000 Jews massacred by the Nazis at Babi Yar, Kyiv, 80 years ago.

Babi Yar has been bombed,

And at least one Russian weeps.

As old in tears as all the Jewish people,

The ghost of Yevtushenko howls in pain.

He was each man, thousands upon thousands,

Shot dead in Kyiv,

And every child thrown into darkness,

Down the ravine’s sheer cliff.

A killing field once again, only this time…

The Nazis are Russian,

Who pompously call themselves,

The Empire of the Russian People.

Nothing in us shall ever forget

That we died to never allow such death to

Rain down again — until Russians brought it

Back to Babi Yar, themselves.

Blood runs, spilling in the streets;

Babies bundled into subway tunnels,

Where their mothers are too terrified,

To make the milk which gives them life.

Tanks and boots kick the old and lame,

Into Poland, Moldova or Romania;

Putin’s pogrom, meant to pummel the hope

Out of Ukrainians he cannot break.

I know the goodness of this land,

And the vileness of the murderers,

Who kill to kill, and destroy our cities

Because they’ve been told, humanity is nil.

The burnt trees look ominous,

Spirits without souls,

Screaming silently above the graves,

Where love once bloomed.

Wild grasses will once again rustle

In the winds over Babi Yar,

And a new monument to life will soon be;

This time, built by people who are free.

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