A train departs from Korosten
heavy with grain from chernozem,
squeals to a halt at Jitomir,
shadows approach the engineer.

They douse the blinking lanterns first,
garrote the guards and seize the train,
shunting it onto a siding,
chanting and stamping, brave Hutsuls.

Latches–flung open–doors unsealed,
sacks and crates fly from hand to hand,
curtains are torn, metal screeches,
hammers clang, all that shifts is stripped.

Never to Kyiv will this train glide,
not without throttle, pins or brakes,
wheels, or valves of bronze and copper,
nor will it serve the Moskali.

Taken in vengeance for their loss–
a bow long strung, golodomor–
Hutsuls, that engine was a life–
sadly granted, a raided corpse.

And yet a marvel haunts these woods:
eased from a coppice, Niavka,
singing, touches the cold iron,
where rose stars blossom in green moss.


7 thoughts on “diverted

  1. If only, if only fortune had bestowed upon Kerensky more strength of Will to lead in times of Crisis and less oratory refinement…if only, if only Kornilov had less delusions of his own military aggrandizement and more lucidity towards nobly preserving the March Revolution…Alas, so many dancing Niavka, so many dancing Niavka…

    I do not believe it possible, My Sonia of the blogosphere, that you might have chosen a more fittingly haunting but still so sorrowfully beautiful ballad to compliment the powerful pathos of your verse here.

    Powerful Ms Flame, very powerful!

  2. As I read your poem I thought of the sinuous strength and power of imagery of a Sylvia Plath. And then I saw the photograph and you do look rather like the young Sylvia.

    Got a really órrible fluey cold (second in three weeks) but looking forward to our chat once I’m well again. ❤

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