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Tuesday, December 27, 2011


by Richard Ilnicki

For Anna Politkovskaya, et al

Mother Russia is a surrogate
Impregnated geographically by God's seed,
Words that prosper and clearly speak
Though dropped beneath unholy frozen tundra.
Mother Russia is covered head to toe
By natural resources and an endless sky,
But she lacks a loving father. Instead,
Her paternal foundation has been laid
By the blood of martyrs, mostly poets
And writers/journalists who would rather die
By starvation, incarceration or assassination
Than succumb to the fearful quarantine
Of words.

Words of truth strung out on clotheslines
By men like Maksim Kovalsky and Andrei Galiyev.
They may not be draping Stalin's Siberia,
But they are now being hung by their necks
With Putin’s cruel clothespins.

In this modern gulag men and women
Who cherish freedom of speech
Have become human icicles in winter.
They hang like stalactites from rooftops
Frozen by fear or melt
Like wax dripping blood in the short hot summer.

Mother Russia’s rich resources
Have yet to be gathered and used
For the greater benefit of her many children.
Instead, Mother Russia’s mothers
Are still giving birth to orphans
And have been left out in the cold
Standing in the widow’s bread line.

Richard Ilnicki is husband, father, grandfather, health club manager/personal trainer whose best friend, besides his wife, is his dog Jimmy.