When you can

If you could, you would
feed the birds of Kyiv, of
Mariupol, the pipits and larks,
the warblers and wagtails

lost in the suffocating
skies over scorched
trees in which they
once slept and nested.

If you could, you would
shelter the martens and voles,
the hares and dormice
who fled cratered homes,

the incendiary cant,
the stink and plunder
of war. You would bless
the dead, every small,

ruined creature who
will never be counted.

When you can, you will
feed honeybees arrived
too early for the first
blossom, or too late

for the last, confused
by the Earth’s febrile
pitch and shudder.
When you can,

you will offer sugar water,
praise the fuzz on each
striped body, the fragile
geometry of delicate wings.

You will count every little
life, pray each through
the burning days,
the coming nights.






  1. D'Arcy Fallon · · Reply

    Made my day. Again. God, what a world we live in. And yes…all the little, lost things. Thank you, Cate.


  2. Thank you for this, Cate. We humans are so concerned about the loss and suffering of our own lives with nary a thought given to the other creatures that become collateral victims of our ego-driven battles and suffocating growth and ‘progress’. If I had to name just one species this planet would be better without… -Russ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d name the same species, Russ — hard to argue that one. Thanks for reading and commenting, Friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your generosity in sharing your poetic insights with those of us who are lucky enough to encounter them — and be forever better for having read them — astounds me. I’m truly grateful for your gifts, Cate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely response, Stephanie! You’re a great encouragement to me, both with your own work and your heartening responses to mine. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This dives deep into the loss happening in Ukraine, ramifications way beyond who dictates policy to the humans there – a curse on the planet physically as well as psychologically. Thank you for the big and little picture – the bees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome, Jazz. Thanks for reading on this Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I normally read your poetry not logged in so don’t tend to comment. Thank you for this exceptional poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome. Thanks for your appreciation.


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