Footprints in the Sand

Will the Russian bear shed any tears this time?

They didn’t with the Finns in the Winter War in 39

Or Budapest in 56 or Prague in 68

Nor in Afghanistan or Syria

Why would Putin shed tears now over Ukraine?


Footprints in the sand

become imprinted and deeper over time

Prejudices rise again

The search for scapegoats

by bullies and dictators


It is rumoured that trans women

started this war

somehow we are responsible

for 10 million refugees

4 million leaving Ukraine

and 6 million displaced

Footprints in the sand


All the LGBTQ plus community

in Ukraine are frightened

vulnerable and vilified

Few of them can escape

Footprints in the sand


Already some have died

Elvira Shchemur, Oksana Schvets and James Hill

being mourned

How many more we do not know

Footprints in the sand


If like me you are trans

but live in Ukraine

you cannot easily leave

you cannot legally be a woman

you have to stay and fight

Like Judis, Alice and Valeria

Footprints in the sand


Zi Faamelu escaped by

jumping in a river and swimming to Romania

Joanne managed to get to Poland

Don’t lose your documents

or try to bribe border guards is her advice

Footprints in the sand


Our LGBT Q+ siblings are fighting

for their lives

In broken bombed out buildings

Streets full of blazing cars

rubble and twisted dead bodies

Does the bear ever shed tears?

Footprints in the sand


One day perhaps peace will return

to Ukraine and Lviv

the city where

the word genocide was invented

by Raphael Lemkin in 1944

to describe the holocaust

Footprints in the sand


What does this mean to us

living safe here in Bury

Do we care?

After all its not our fight is it?

Footprints in the sand


But it is

Our siblings in Ukraine

in the LGBTQ plus community

are fighting for their existence

people like us ….

Footprints in the sand


The pope and others plea with Putin for mercy

The bear sheds no tears

Nothing changes

Footprints in the sand


What can we do here in Bury?

Will we… can we… make a difference


we can offer so much

love empathy and

practical help

in many many ways


I am too old to fight now

but I care deeply

for all my LGBTQI+

sisters and brothers there

in war torn Ukraine

and my words will support them


So go forth and offer help and love

where and when you can

will it make a difference you ask?



Let’s make new footprints in the sand


As my Dad said,

one pebble thrown

in a pool

sends ripples

you know not where

Footprints in the sand

Pauline Smith April 2022


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