The Writing Process

NBC News 2/25/22

I cannot stop thinking about 

my student from Ukraine,

the one who outlined a persuasive essay

declaring the world should stop Russia 

from invading Ukraine.

By the end of his first draft, 

Russia had bombed his country 

on three fronts.

I asked him how he was doing. 

His eyes were red,

and he was quiet for a moment.

“Not good,” he said.

“Do you have family in Ukraine?”

He stared at his desk, hard;

his white hoodie hid all but 

a rogue wave of blond hair.

“Yes, I have family there.”

When the focus turned to revision,

he refined sentences,

eliminated repetition, and

added transitions.

But by then,

Russian troops were positioned

30 miles outside Kyiv,

the capital city.

I’ve learned

the writing process

is a journey of discovery.

Sometimes where we start as writers

is not where we end.

What begins

as a framework–

advocating for

peace and democracy,

can end as a desperate plea

for salvation,

where war,

death and destruction

engulf a homeland 

no longer yours.

11 thoughts on “The Writing Process

  1. Yes, very powerful poem. The structure of writing process (‘at the end of the first draft’ and then ‘when focus turned to revision’) juxtaposed with events developing in Ukraine, is so effective. I think this piece merits keeping and revisiting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this- so moving. I love how the writing process the unfolding of events paralleled each other in your writing. His eyes were red- bringing tears to mine too reading this, truly beautiful piece of writing.


  3. This poem was so beautiful and chilling, it took me days to digest and I am finally coming back to it. You captured his pain and his family’s pain so powerfully. I loved this line especially, “Sometimes where we start as writers

    is not where we end.”


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