My heart you cannot take by force


  1. O Muse! 05: Spring Equinox 2022
  2. Dove of Peace
  3. My heart you cannot take by force
  4. Before the war … we were just people.
  5. Lord Have Mercy (Ukraine Version)
  6. Life
  7. One Silence Like a Clap of Thunder
  8. Tracy L. Conway
  9. A Perch of Birds
  10. Colour of My Dreams
  11. Wish I May
  12. Little Good Women
  13. They do have drive-thru daiquiri stores in Louisiana, don’t they?
  14. The Lumberjack
  15. Joy
  16. Bloom to Fly
  17. Jellicle Cats
  18. Northern Parula
  19. It was one of those March days

UPDATE: A few days after I published my spring issue I heard from Oleksandra and she kindly gave me permission to use her art.  So I compiled a full issue focused on the war in Ukraine.

CLICK HERE to see the post. 

CLICK HERE to go to the Ukraine issue.


I had hoped to feature the art of Ukrainian artist Oleksandra Green (Олександра Грін), who is caught up in the Russian invasion of her homeland. I recently discovered her art on social media. Her hashtags make her feelings about Putin crystal clear: #stoprussianaggression, #stopwarinukraine, #prayforukraine and, my favorite, #fuckputin. Oleksandra lives in Lviv and, I believe, is in her late teens, possibly early 20s. As of March 15, she was still in Lviv with her family. I reached out to her through multiple channels but so far have not received a response.

At the start of the Invasion, her posts changed from lighthearted illustrations and sketches to powerful messages expressing her fear, rage and determination, accompanied by captions such as: “Burn in Hell, dear rescuers” with a drawing of a woman (Oleksandra?), her face smeared with war paint in the Ukrainian flag colors and a blazing Molotov cocktail in her hand; “Together we are the strength” captions another of her and her family in a group hug; and “Take your bloody hands off my home!” explains a drawing of her holding a model-sized burning building. Oleksandra’s Peace Dove is adorned with Ukrainian motifs and holds a blue and yellow olive branch in its beak. It is captioned “My heart you cannot take by force.”

Her last post on March 15 has a photo of a 9-year-old girl in a hospital bed, her left arm amputated at the shoulder. A drawing Oleksandra made of the girl shows her with an angel wing for her missing arm and a blue and yellow heart on her chest. A third image shows some text in Ukrainian that opens with “Tell me honestly, do I have a left hand or not?” Oleksandra vows in her post: “and you, damn orcs – run away, climb into your stinky caves and pray! We will never forgive you for this!” Orcs are an imaginary race of humanlike creatures characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent in fantasy literature and games.

My recent encounters with the war through people, music and art have profoundly changed how I am reacting to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Let me preface this to say that I am a pacifist. But being a pacifist doesn’t mean saying and doing nothing and letting evil happen, which I’m sadly guilty of lately. It requires commitment and strength to prevent violence and stand up against it.

I keep hearing that the U.S. shouldn’t get involved because we might piss off Putin and start WWIII. Except that WWII happened because Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito were able to rampage through Europe and the world for years with impunity before we figured out we were next. The U.S. Congress actually passed a series of neutrality acts, believing we could isolate ourselves from the conflict and just “stay out of it” – that is, until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. By then the world was in chaos and it was too late.

If we do nothing this time, at the very the least, we are allowing massive suffering and destruction of Ukraine. At worst, WWIII will be declared, but only after Putin has plowed through Eastern Europe to fulfill his desire to rebuild his Soviet Union and relive his glory days. No, it’s not 1939, and Putin is not Hitler, and there are a lot of differences in the world (Social Media, for one). But History has a way of repeating itself and we don’t seem to learn. In 1867, John Stuart Mill said: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” A century later we were reminded again by Martin Luther King Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

And here we are again.

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