san francisco peace and hope





Jeannie Motherwell, Enough is Enough, 2022, Acrylic on cradled panel ©



a cool moon watches

higher than their eyes can see

above the night noise


Dori Pendergrass




We Need Not Know the Path

    exploring the concept of 5's


I have heard we are all only five people away

from anyone in the world.

I know someone who knows someone

who knows someone who knows someone

who knows that person.


I have a friend named Kenneth Fan.

He knows people in the Chinese government.

They know Chinese president Xi Jinping.

So, it seems like we should be friends


I know my sister.

She knows the doctor who delivered her child.

He delivered Kamala Harris.

She knows Joe Biden.

Biden knows Vladimir Putin.

It seems he should be our friend.


I know many people.

They know their families, friends, acquaintances.

Each of them know so many, many people.

Each of them knows exponentially more.

At least one of them will know anyone else.

It seems we should all be friends


Judy Hardin Cheung






Standing in the truth of love 

The energetic power of our being

Alive with a song of the soul

Carrying forth on a wavelength of light

Speaking in minds across universal planes 

We catch the words and thoughts of kindred spirits 


The art of life

A life of art

Love of truth

Truth of love

In the truth we're standing

Standing in the truth of love


James Berkowitz






There are sunflowers,

the country’s bright bloom.

Have you held one close

to your cheeks, your eyes?

Ukrainians do.


Tilted, full of grace,

there are sunflowers

on roadside meadows,

in hills and valleys

the size of one’s face,


all gazing beyond

the zeitgeist, the angst.

There are sunflowers,

what would they tell us,

since wide eyes see well!?


War excels at hell

on earth. Guardian

angels keep hinting

There are sunflowers,

yellow, tan and gold,


all a soul can hold.

Wash off the bomb-dust,

toxic weapons’ stench.

Ukraine stays free. And

there are sunflowers.


© Claire J. Baker, June 2, 2022




A Prayer Of Observation During War


I stare into the familiar. Paint peels and a drizzle 

moistens bulging panels. The roof disintegrates 

and spaces open for praying mantises. I should 

be thankful but mostly I think about war and loss.  


The aluminum basin in my mind catches rainwater 

for peace that keeps widening deeper and deeper.  

Praying mantises move like sloths; see through me, 

on my knees, as if I am invisible or an old mirage.  


Jane Green





J.M.W. Turner, The Angel Standing in the Sun, Oil on Canvas, 1846




There's a war going on


6,400 miles from my home. I don't know what 

to do except pray. Please stop warring, or please 

stop killing your Ukrainian neighbors, or please 

stop warring people with threats of annihilation.  


I'm having no luck, but this morning my daily 

devotion was a quote from the Master Buddhist 

Monk, Achaan Chan.  


"We continue to create suffering, waging war with 

good, waging war with evil, waging war with what is 

too small, waging war with what is too big, waging 

war with what is too short or too long, or right 

or wrong, courageously carrying on the battle."  


Will I ever be able to get up from my knees?  


Jane Green






One eye for one eye

You grieve, I grieve

When is the suffering enough?

My child, your child,

I plead, you plead

What is this awful symmetry?


When I fear, you fear

You rant, I rant

Make-believe strong, pretend-tough

Who will say it?

What we both want

Open the fist to find sympathy


Who keeps the books that count pluses and minuses?

Who measures? Who assigns weight and value?


Breathe the same air

Maybe we share a

resolute fragile geometry.


© Patrice Haan




A Passing Jet


Listen into waves of fog banked morning

The muffled roar of a passing jet

A reminder of safety when no bombs fall

Not here but a wrenching knowledge

That they fall on innocents in other lands


Listen as the voices of survivors on the radio

Speak of what they have endured

In an age when such horror is surreal

Their wounds and loss too palpable

The sounds of war deafening humanity


Listen into waves of wind’s warning

To the grieving mothers of a nation

Children lost in bombings and genocide

Hear their mournful wailing and pain

And let your heart grieve with them


© Deborah K. Tash, April 4, 2022




Dark Eyes

An Elegy for Ukraine


…whatever I do/will become forever what I've done.
—from "Life While-You-Wait," Wislawa Szymborska


The girl's family gathers at the kitchen table,

her box of colored pencils and pad of paper

that praised the beauty of nightingales in trees

packed away with a book of verse and trident

charm wrapped inside a silky blue-yellow flag. 


Potatoes simmer on the stove to mash to stuff 

pirohi dough. For now they make molotov cocktails, 

fill shell casings, balk at air raid sirens and booms 

in a blood red sky bleeding down on stuffed satchels 

made ready to cross some border, any border.


The girl's Baba, just outside the window, braves 

a soldier, hands him a fistful of sunflower seeds,

implores him to put down his gun to plant them. 

While others deliver curses and spells, she sings 

"Ochi Chyornye," the street thickening with the fog 

of ghosts who have come, who are about to come. 


Andrena Zawinski


Author’s note: Ochi Chyornye, or Dark Eyes. Known as a Russian folk ballad was written by a Ukrainian poet.






are reported including a 7 year old child.

Is she or he merely a casualty in

the drumbeat of war, the reports of

statistics, of the number of refugees

fleeing, the number of bodies

found on the streets with booby traps

inside them, the child who once

held his family together, who could

laugh, play, read his books, was

busy with his friends? But there are

no friends, just an emptiness,

and fear, a lasting trauma.


Marguerite G. Bouvard




A Short Poem for my Ancestors' Home


The blue and yellow birds


the blue and yellow flowers


the blue and yellow banderole


quavering in the cyclonic wind.


Kyiv, Lviv, Odesea (Хай живе*)


We must keep praying and praying and praying


for ravaged Ukraine


Cindy Hochman


*Long live




life notes


across the landscapes

of Ukraine

in fields towns and

cities birds sang on

a million branches

neighbors heard them

that was last week

now the trees are gone

black ash the birds

with them the

singing silenced

listening ears absent

some forever


Jan Emerson




The Singularity of War


We have a warped hierarchy

of stories, value the narrative

of a single person's life,

teach children of their distinctive

and original lives, their future place,

until we have a war,

when singular tales and fables,

yarn and truth submerge,

and a people's, a nation's account,

enfolds all into one fabric,

the horrific scope of battle

obliterating uniqueness

into stalemate of all—

shelled apartments look

like shelled bureaucracies,

after all, the remnants of a house

like the remnants of a shed.

No one lives there anymore.


It is the black hole that war brings,

a toxic singularity

that compresses what matters

into nothingness but itself,

extinguishes light,

differentiation, individuals.


What can we do but stand and weep

as we watch the Penelope of history

who has crafted each stitch and purl

into culture, variety, diversity,

pull it apart, unraveling

threads as if inconsequential.


Jeff Burt






Past the sweet corn and the grape arbor,

Running along a wall of tattered stucco,

Dog barking somewhere near,

Rooster strolling the road.

In the distance black smoke turns white.

Beyond red tile roof lines, the camera shows bright flames.

Few of the fighters have helmets.

Only the group leader wears body armor.

A soldier who has been hit wears his massive curls

Pulled high on his head in a knitted band

Designed for winter sports. It is now hot summer.

The grapes are big and deep blue in the arbors.

The one with high piled curls bleeds from his right side.

Two men run with him off beyond the range of the camera.

When firing stops, a woman opens her basement door.

Wide eyed, she runs her fingers through her tangled hair.

Everyone in the film is wide eyed. What will be next?

Those with guns want to know the same.

Their eyes are fixed beyond the sweet corn

And the vineyard. Turning toward her worn stone steps,

The woman goes slowly back inside,

Returns with a red plastic bowl full of water.

The men pass the bowl from hand to hand.

Each face looks like an icon.

She, like the Theotokos, the birth-giver of the divine.

And why not? These are the faces

That served as models for icons.

Look at them in books and on video.

Look at them as neighbors, school mates,

Hardly any with a helmet. Only the one in charge

With his chest protected.


Tanya Joyce






Right now

In a country miles away 

But at our front door remains 

A mass of refugees




Within a chaos caused by a greedy few

Rupturing lives while many are slew


Causing the sun to dim

To the point of an eclipse 

During the interim 

While their power leaders slip 

And fall into their graves of universal sin


James Berkowitz





Joseph Mallord William Turner, Sunrise with Sea Monsters, Oil on Canvas, 1845






This war, Putin said, will be over soon.

The first casualty of war is truth.

The first untruth is to blame your victim.

Perhaps a disease is killing Putin,

His mind and body ravaged and cratered

As Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

Is disease a metaphor for evil?

How does a metaphor become real war,

A legacy of bombs and bodies?

The dead are real, rather they used to be,

Gone in a flash or lingering until

Their absence is real.

And for this absence there is no cure.

What about evil?


Ken Saffran




Hate Is Not the Only Four-Letter Word



























Kit Kennedy




Meditation on Blue & Yellow


Now the world instantly

recognizes the Ukrainian flag --

minimal, almost bucolic,

democratic in the distribution

of hues. Azure for the country’s

streams, sky, mountains. Yellow

honors golden wheat fields and

the earth’s richness. Almost

biblical: so above, so below. 

That’s the sweet metaphor.

Reality is harsh, unrelentingly cruel.

In my mind’s eye, I see

a Ukrainian woman, despondent.

Don’t know her last name.

Her first, sister, lover, aunt,

mother, grandmother.


Grief-stricken at seeing war

abroad, it’s easy to overlook  

the wars of rage decimating

our schools and our streets

under an azure sky with sun

striking golden hills. More than

a flag unites us. Still, I can’t

stop thinking how much

of home can one stuff into

a pillowcase?


Kit Kennedy





Vincent van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, Oil on canvas, 1890






From distant first world safety,

we shudder at worsening headlines,

witness family homes, maternity hospital,

theater clearly marked as a refuge

harboring women and children

transformed to rubble.


While we paint fire hydrants blue and yellow,

fly the Ukrainian flag over Monterey city hall,

from boat masts in protected marina,

defiant war zone survivors take back their cities,

deliver water and food, rescue the fallen,

replace street signs with taunts targeting Putin.


Around the planet,

sunflowers rise in solidarity,

push golden faces toward light,

towering blooms that symbolize

resistance, persistence, a desire for peace.


Jennifer Lagier






In Kharkov, Ukraine, in the midst of heavy

and relentless bombing and assaults,

on the day of its annual classical music


festival, five musicians brought their violins

cellos and bass into a subway station

calling it "concert between explosions."


It started with the Ukrainian national anthem,

inspiring an audience of hundreds of all ages

to put their hands over their hearts, and some


of them to hold each other as the violinist

Stanislov Kucsherenko said "music has a strong

emotional significance, helps people to cope


with fear and stress and inspire faith and

optimism." In this polarized world of conflict,

unity is an emblem of the Creator, that when


we confront pain and disaster together,

we are all one family, sharing not only

our anxiety, but also a profound love.


Marguerite G. Bouvard





"I have come to understand we are all messengers to one another" Beau Beausoleil


A woman stands in the war zone,

hands seeds to a soldier, tells him,

Take these and put them in your pocket,

so sunflowers will grow

when you all die here.


Golden petals crown lanky stalks,

sprout from ditch banks,

between tin-roof shacks,

along country roadsides.


Tenacious sun seekers

thrive despite inhospitable soil

Tokens of hope

lift heavy heads toward light,

above barbed wire boundaries.


Passing jays drop sunflower seeds

among lupine, poppies, alyssum --

a promise that winter's passage

will blossom healing and peace.


Jennifer Lagier




Time Without Measure


A clock with no hands seems to drift through smoke

as a news camera pans a bombed out Ukrainian village.


Can time transition with no hands to mark its passage?

Has time changed since

Genghis Khan galloped in from the east

The Ottoman Empire intruded from the south

Austro-Hungarian Empire came from the west

as Russia invades from the North.


After the War to End All Wars, Ukraine was independent

until overpowered by Russia again.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union

again Ukraine became a peaceful, independent nation

happy to live with United Nation's dictates to be neutral.

Now Russia is invading again.


Today, with schools and apartment buildings bombed,

Ukrainians beg those who are their friends

to stop the televised-world-wide genocide.

Putin demands, "Ukraine is Russian because it was Russian!"

Someone asks if this means Russia has the right

to invade Alaska and California

which briefly also have been under a Russian flag.


The clock with no hands offers no answer

as smoke drifts across its face

yet another time,

and it fades into oblivion on international TV.


Judy Hardin Cheung






Into the night I seek

Love amongst the weak

The meek

In all life forms

Tenderly and unwavering 


We're waiting for the ill souls of the world to transpire

Allowing drops of dew to gently baptize their heads

While our violent society hangs by threads

Breath by breath

In a perilous human crucible


Nature and our animal friends 

Continue to pray for awareness 

Pleading for us to stop being careless 


We look on

As leaders drop bombs

Causing self destruction 



Though they admit not

Their pride within a common lot


But sending 

A patriotic message of death


James Berkowitz






In the midst of a horrific war of continuous

destruction of cities and towns, the rampant killing

of civilians, including the elderly and children,

at a time when bridges are destroyed, and despair

could be overwhelming, Ukrainians are

responding in extraordinary ways, doing everything

they can to help each other; carrying a blind

woman down the stairs to a car that will bring

her to a safe place, sharing an overcrowded

room, a community that comes together, despite

being surrounded by so many deaths, revealing

that nothing is as powerful as love, when janitors

step up to clean the streets of rubble and trash, when

a woman shares her last piece of bread and when

Stanislav Kalinin, a soloist with the Karkiv

Regional Philharmonic played DeProfundis on

the organ in the arched hall of a church in Lviv,

saying "It's like a prayer that people have in time

of despair, a prayer to protect us, to protect our

children." Once he finishes these performances

Stanislav Kalinin plans to return to Karkiv

where a everyone is doing what they can to maintain

a sense of normalcy despite the war, telling us that

"those who stay in Karkiv are maintaining the beauty

of their city and the beauty in their souls."


Marguerite G. Bouvard




This Poem


This poem is trying to hold itself together

            trying not to scream in futile anger

            not crash into walls

            not lie down in hopelessness.

This poem is trying to tell its own truth

            to remember moments of grace

            to join hands with other lines of words

            words that speak justice

            that seek peace

            that are juicy with abundant love.

This poem is magnetized by and afraid of

            that overworked, beaten, bruised, disguised,

            bought-and-sold word

            that Valentine label

            that kiss-off

            that closing salutation

            that lie

            that nevertheless rings as truly as a perfectly cast bell rings

            a complex set of overtones from the root

            from the deep



© Patrice Haan




Haiku from Dan Brady


Smoky battleground        

Corpses strewn … a medallion glints

The long – justice – of silence


Historical atlas:

Flip pages; each pixel's change in tint

Warfare's sanguine hint


Who denies their chains

Those long-standing claims

From the empires of our past


If I could bury this world, 

I would – if only   that

Would ease the pain


I've issues with this world

Its past problems    those of today,

Compounding, as they are, with interest


Kyiv, last year

Colorful dancers honored 

The Great Patriotic War


This summer

The world draws its claws, 

Hammers home hard horror


No matter past

Or present – the future

Is bigger than both … live for it 


One question   one answer

One moment   one soul

One peace   one people






As time encircles and recycles itself,

mirror likenesses thicken and fog up.

If you have trouble finding yourself,

start looking elsewhere. The sky –

not only is it not the limit, it opens

and dares you to look up who you are.

Mountains and mountains and mountains

– they’re you. Great Lakes you take

to be out there someplace look like you,

splash and churn and shine like you.

The world beyond washed flesh is you.

Light dries your eyes; one blink can melt

illusion, dissolve the frame that says:

“I look at you and see no evidence of me.”


Al Young - © 2008 by Al Young




Ukrainian Nocturne


"As if to music, as if to peace." Eavan Boland


Each night, nameless men

switch street signs

to misdirect enemy soldiers.

An old woman sets her cat carrier

near a pile of rubble,

scavenges smoldering ruins

for surviving mementos.


In a crowded subway station,

underneath burning wreckage,

a little girl dreams of peace,

snuggles doggie and doll,

imagines blue summer sky,

running barefoot through tranquil field,

rows of golden sunflowers.


Jennifer Lagier





 Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, Oil on canvas, 1888