26 Feb. 2022 – Good Luck [Poem – 1st draft]

I’ve labeled this poem a first draft, because it is. It appears here as it was written when it was thought and without edits. I’ve included context for it, as well as some personal notes written to myself. In the grand scheme of things, this is perhaps infinitely insignificant. Still, it is a glimpse of the thought process that goes into writing a poem, albeit not one that was worked on for very long, over the course of days, weeks, or more. From the initial idea to the saved document was less than fifteen minutes, perhaps disrespectfully short. But it is a beginning to something, maybe. Or an example of what not to do.

Good Luck, 26 Feb. 2022
S. R. Shilling

Good luck.
The streets are adorned with good luck tonight.
Good luck.
Good Luck Way
Good Luck Street
Good Luck Boulevard
Good Luck Alley
Good Luck Avenue
Good luck.

It is the luck of the lost and the confused
of the weary and the worn
of the frustrated and the frightened
wished by those that are home and certain
that are weary and worn
that are frustrated and frightened

It is the luck wished by those who find 
their homes have become the corners
they’ve been backed into
of those who find bread 
and water, walls and familiar faces
more valuable than gold.
The streets are adorned with good luck tonight
good luck.

The streets area adorned with good luck tonight
because soon they will bear the treads
of boots and of tanks and the force
of bombardments and bullets
and where once the word shell 
would offer up images of the shore
now it is merely the beginning of an action--shelling
of destruction and of a bad dream come true

The streets are adorned with good luck tonight.
I wish I could wish you more
than merely good luck tonight, Kyiv.


The roadworks department of Kyiv, aided by civilians, have been replacing all the street signs with signs reading “Good Luck” in hopes that the Russian troops will have a difficult time navigating the city as they invade. 


I am worried that I have done a disservice to the residents of Kyiv and Ukraine in the second stanza by only differentiating them from the Russian invading forces in the line “wished by those that are home and certain.” So I’m not sure this is a helpful poem to exist in the world, and is likely not suitable for publication/sharing. I fail to explicitly and outright condemn the invading troops, and I cannot see how to do so in the guise of this poem.
I do not want anyone to die in violent ways. I want everything to stop. 
It simply wasn’t in the original idea, and I could not see how to force it in. Perhaps in another, yet to come. A future version. But by then will I still feel compelled by the idea of good luck?

I don’t think the is a very good section:

“and where once the word shell
would offer up images of the shore
now it is merely the beginning of an action--shelling 
of destruction and of a bad dream come true” 

It feels like a fragment of a thought, something still half-buried, and not in a good way. An attempt at suggesting the former innocence of the lives of Ukrainians who have been thrown into the theatre of war by the hand of a madman. So I’m not sure it belongs. Either that or it needs more. But I can never hold on to a long poem, not even when reading them.

I learned about the signs on a radio broadcast. It was quickly followed up by the words of a woman who talked about her 61-year-old father telling her he was returning to Ukraine to fight. When she said “Dad you are too old, your knees are not good. You can’t walk well.” She said his response was “I can crawl.” How, when that is the determination in the hearts of those involved, can I share something as weak-willed and limp as a poem like this?