Saturday, February 22, 2014


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 bent, 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.

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