“War as a Spectator Sport” by Janice D. Soderling

Janice D. Soderling


Oh, let the ground be muddy.
Oh, let the mild rains fall.
It’s winter in the oblast
And there’s writing on the wall.
But no one can interpret it.
A threat? Or folderol?
Only Putin in his fox lair knows.
En garde? Advance? Withdraw?
Oh, may oil be delivered
On bobsled or on skis.
Winter war like winter sports
Requires an awesome freeze.
So let the ground be muddy.
Let the Arctic tundra thaw.
Let’s fly the aspidistra now
And frack one last hurrah!
Bow down before the money god.
We’ve worshipped there before.
Excuse me one brief minute.
Someone’s knocking on the door.
Back now. It was that Orwell chap
With pizzas, strangely grinning.
Turn up the heat. And pass the beer.
What did I miss? Who’s winning?

from Poets Respond
September 20, 2022


Janice D. Soderling: “In winter wars, as in winter sports, weather is often a determining factor. As cold weather approaches, there is considerable speculation about the future of the war in Ukraine and Europe’s ability to withstand the impending energy crisis, about Putin’s next move, about which countries might choose oil over promises, about future energy sources (nuclear plants reopening, fracking, Arctic drilling). In much of the reporting, as in private opining, the war is entertainment. George Orwell wrote a socially critical novel, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, in which the protagonist declares war on the money god, but later surrenders his ideals.”

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