Poem: They, Called it Hell
As I child, I remember her cool waters.
Ivan and I would dance and play
with Rowina and Sasha.
Our days were filled with wonder and beauty.
The dark blue skies gave us
humble residents, hope and joy.
The sun’s rays would warm the cool air,
glistening with untold strength,
to the mighty river, where we frolicked.
It seems so long ago.
Mine and Ivan’s eyes have grown cold and weary.
We longer think of skating on her vast
mountains of ice.
We no longer remember the endless days,
lying with Sasha and Rowina.
Instead, we can only see death.
It stalks at every corner.
There is no place to hide.
We warm ourselves with pitiful fires.
We eat what few rations
journey across her breadth.
She is the lifeblood for our salvation.
Every day is a challenge to survive.
Orders are given and followed.
Fewer and fewer of us return,
but she keeps feeding the carnage.
When will it stop?
Surrender isn’t an option.
Our struggle must end in victory.
The once proud city is no longer
a teeming metropolis.
The trams stopped operating months ago.
The citizens left, huddle in the oppressive
piles of rubble.
How they live, I do not know or care.
A tear with no emotion trickles down my
dirt encrusted face.
I watch the bodies and debris ebb and flow
with her currents.
The stench of death brings an unknown comfort.
For in death, there is no pain, no terror, no missions,
To ache for it would be criminal. Too many have perished
at the hands of the aggressors.
They brought this unwanted war. They raped our land, our
women, our crops, our livestock.
They’ve burned our villages, shelled our cities, killed our children,
rounded up our old.
Ivan, Sasha, Rowina and I must fight. We must live to destroy
We will avenge the deaths of our comrades.
We will kill them in their sleep, when they walk,
when they drink, when they snipe.
Yes, we kill them without remorse or thought.
We will shed no tears as they fall
like sticks in the wind.
We will trample them as one would a wounded
animal; no remorse or feeling.
They have hardened our hearts.
They have taught us how to fight.
They have taught us how to kill.
We have learned the lessons well.
The order to move comes.
We check our weapons of death:
scopes, stock, bullets, barrel, bolts.
We are ready. We are ready to hunt
the enemy; riding them from our land.
We all stand, looking at the mighty Volga,
remembering a distant, stolen past.
It is time. It is time to remind them
why They, call it hell!
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