Poetry from Bruce Roberts

WAR IS HELL!

	Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Rome!
	Persians, Byzantines, Jews, Christians, 
  Muslims—all have called Jerusalem HOME!
	The Islamic Caliphates and Crusaders
			Kept war alive!
	Ottomans held peace for centuries,
 		So all believers could thrive.
	But then the British came, and WW1.
	Ottomans faded, League of Nations survived.
	Meanwhile anti-Semitism ranged far and wide.
		Russia slaughtered Jews,
		Nazis slaughtered Jews,
	And Jews—hundreds of thousands—escaped
		   To Israel to hide.
	  Now, at last, they had a state—
	Except it was imposed on Palestinians
		  Who had NO STATE.
So Palestinian Hamas brought incredible death--
         Atrocity unbelievable--
	   And Israel—in self-defense—
 Has slaughtered thousands and thousands,
	Causing protests—ignorant of history—
		  Around the world!
	     Offense or defense, 
	  WAR IS HELL!
(And where were the protests 
				when Russia invaded Ukraine?)

“When I looked again,  he was still at it.  He was still raping her after he had slaughtered her.”    Quote from Raz Cohen, who witnessed Hamas atrocities during the October 7 attack.



Ukraina
This poem is about a Ukrainian immigrant couple to California who's memorialized with a plaque in a park on a hiking trail in Hayward. 

Weekends,
Early 20th Century, 
My grandfather hiked 
The Hayward Hills- 
Grassy meadows, 
Wooded Creekbeds, 
Sometimes aiming
For a huge pine, 
Visible from afar, 
The needled tower
OF UKRAINA RANCH, 
Home to Agapius
And Albina
Honcharenko.

A new name
  To protect his family, 
      Ukranian Honcharenko
Had lived his life. 
As a man of God,
As a man of honor, 
Defying the Tsar
For the rights
Of Russia's serfs,
Writer and publisher 
For HUMAN RIGHTS
No matter where he lived, 
But always under threat 
From the long
And dangerous fingers
Of the Tsar.


1865-ARRESTED
by Russian agents
in Constantinople.
He escaped-in disguise- 
To London, New York, 
San Francisco,
Hayward,
Escaping a land
Where he was
  "stabbed, drugged,
shot, 
   clubbed like a dog." 
1873-PEACE-
And refuge
Developed
In the pastoral beauty
     Of Hayward's hills, 
Where Agapius and Albina 
Could live and farm—
Holding church services 
In a cave--
    Away
From world evil.
Yet published defiance 
Still smuggled to Russia:
Gentle, persistent, 
Holy Man, 
Humanitarian!


UKRAINA
a California Historic Landmark
HAYWARD HISTORY!




One thought on “Poetry from Bruce Roberts

  1. Your poetry has a powerful, historical aspect, as well as strong, honest feelings. Thank you for sharing.

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