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At a Polling Station Somewhere in Ukraine

20 April, 2020: At a Polling Station Somewhere in Ukraine

Read a Poem

At a Polling Station Somewhere in Ukraine

by Bill Arthrell

May 25, 2014
On a small wooden chair
I sit and observe.
I’m used to standing and
but I must be objective
in this very subjective world.
I’m in a school
that reminds me of my own
elementary school—
it was Prospect School
somewhere else
on this Vast Planet.
Here Ukrainians vote.
Here I am an official International
Election Observer.
And Here appeals to my Ego.
And this appeals to my humility—
the most Important Election
of the New Millennium—
you know, the Age of Aquarius:
Peace & Understanding
will guide the Planet—
not in Kyiv
not in Katrina-wreaking New Orleans,
not in the lethal Gulf of Mexico—
not anywhere I can see. Maybe here—
for this moment
on a small wooden chair
sun pouring through the
wheat & sky
blue & gold.
I am blue for the future of
this country.
I am gold with hope
“At a Polling Station Somewhere in Ukraine, May 25, 2014” by Bill Arthrell, from Ukrainian Heart.  Osvita Ukrainy. 2019. Used by permission of the author.
Bill Arthrell is a poet, editor, and activist retired from teaching high school history in the Cleveland Public Schools. An Oberlin native, Arthrell lives in Cleveland, where he edited the very successful anthology Hart’s Cargo in the 1980s, and a second edition was published by the CSU Poetry Center in the 1990s. His most recent book of his own poetry, Ukrainian Heart, is a bilingual collection inspired by his trip in 2014 to Ukraine where he became an international election observer. You can find him on Facebook at

Write a Poem

One of the most famous Ukrainian poems begins, "When I am dead, bury me/In my beloved Ukraine," and a contemporary Ukrainian poet writes, "Because cemeteries are too pricey/I would like to be deposited on a public bench..." Write a poem on where you would like to be buried and/or not buried.

Geoffrey A. Landis
When I am dead
I have no further use for the body
It's meat.
Grind me up for dog food.
I would say cat food,
cats are too picky.
4/22/2020 8:06:09 PM

N. K. Hasen
Don’t Bury Me In Some Unknown Land

Don’t bury me in some unknown land
Somewhere distant; far away
For no one would come to visit
No family would know where I lie
Somewhere under the dirt
In some unknown land far away
I wouldn’t hear the talk
From family and friends
I wouldn’t be bury close to love ones
So bury me close by
And not some unknown land far away
4/21/2020 9:50:29 AM

When I am dead,
Return me to the Earth.
Let me replenish the planet
From six feet under.
I want to give back
To the world that gave me so much.
Let my spirit live eternal
In life after my death.
4/21/2020 12:41:45 AM

Gina T
I am half Ukrainian. Thank you for sharing, Bill. My hope, as well.
4/20/2020 11:35:11 PM

Meera kansal
Reflecting pondering wondering
What is my worth?
What did I do?
What do I deserve?
A piece of the earth
I should reserve?

Rewind rewind rewind
Nothing comes to mind
All those precious moments
Lost, in collecting and storing
Junk of all kind

All I wish now
Family and my friends
Simply write as my epitaph
She left, not desiring or wanting
Rather,admiring remembering treasuring
All the care and loving she got

4/20/2020 6:46:47 PM

Resting Place
When I die, bury me.
No cremation. I’m afraid of fire and of being consumed.
No vaults, please, because no one will have need of my bones.
No, instead, bury me
In the soil.
No wooden or steel box. No concrete sarcophagus.
Bury me in the soil
Where my earthly body may become
Part of a tree, or grass,
Or if I am very lucky,
A daffodil;
That I may bloom in the springtime
And bring a smile,
A sense of renewal;
That I may go on.
4/20/2020 2:16:40 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.