Vova, A Ukrainian Refugee Child Poet

Karl Constantine FOLKES 1935 (Portland)

As a refugee
Ukrainian child poet
A boy named Vova
Of Slavonic ancestry
You are born to serve others.

A soulful servant
Who will serve with poetry
With words that bring hope
The poetry of freedom
Of liberty from bondage.

Lady Liberty
That beacon of shining light
Hears you beckoning
A child’s voice pleading  mercy
And she offers you comfort.

Be not discouraged
You are a child of freedom
Born to serve others
Through poetry of freedom
To liberate your people.

To bring words of hope
That will be your legacy
Words of new freedom
To eradicate all fears
And drive away oppression.

In America
You are now embraced
By kindred spirits
Poets just like you, Vova
Who harmonize with your dreams.

(Some of Vova’s Words)

“We have ruined the Earth.
We could fix it.
Now … Later
Or even before.
But the innocence in a person
May ask: Why?
Finding the answers
May be the very reason
For the demolishment
Of our innocence.”

About this poem

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, leaving in its wake thousands of casualties on both sides, including many Ukrainian civilians, among them women and children. The Russo-Ukrainian war which, historically, was started by Russia in February 2014, following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, continues to be a costly engagement that shows no immediate signs of permanent ceasefire. In March 2022 U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the United States of America would welcome 100,000 refugees from the Ukraine hoping desperately to flee Russia’s invasion and pillage of their country. In New York, a 13-year old Ukrainian refugee boy and child poet, who expresses himself and his aspirations for a new life of freedom by writing poetry, is one such Ukrainian fortunate enough to escape the scourge of warfare, yet still traumatized by its physical and psychological scars. This 6-stanza Tanka poem, “Vova A Ukrainian Refugee Child Poet,” was inspired by Vova Ovcharenko’s driven thirst for freedom, brought to my attention by my son, a Chief Investigator at the office of the New York Stare Attorney General, in contact with Vova and his refugee family members. 

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Written on July 19, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on July 19, 2022

Modified by karlcfolkes on July 20, 2022

57 sec read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 941
Words 193
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 1, 10

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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1 Comment
  • teril
    This is the second poem I have read about, and then, by Vova. Thank you for your words, and for sharing his thoughts and his message. A rare positive by-product of the war.
    LikeReply1 year ago


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"Vova, A Ukrainian Refugee Child Poet" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jul 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/132309/vova,-a-ukrainian-refugee-child-poet>.

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