All I Have Are Ashes #Akhmatova #poet #societalcancer

 winter scene

I’ve cried for seventeen long months,
I’ve called you for your home,
I fell at hangmen’ feet – not once,
My womb and hell you’re from.
All has been mixed up for all times,
And now I can’t define
Who is a beast or man, at last, 
And when they’ll kill my son.
There’re left just flowers under dust,
The censer’s squall, the traces, cast
Into the empty mar…
And looks strait into my red eyes
And threads with death, that’s coming fast,
The immense blazing star.

~above is an excerpt from “Requiem ” by Anna Akhmatova*

Tears mingle in the dirt
whose ashes are these?
they look familiar
momentarily my tears sparkle in the mud
“oh yes that was my first love
he died at the hand of Lenin
my son is still awaiting my tears”
the ashes have worked their way
into the fabric of one shoe
clinging to memory
“please God  give my frailty a purpose”
this shoe I ask that they not take 
I must cling to it for warmth

when the winter breezes dry my once fresh skin
kiss my cheek with remnants of him…

(my echo of a poem to this Russian woman who knew such pain)

Anna Akhmatova is known as one of Russia’s finest female poets. She lived during a time when freedom of artistic expression was unwelcome. Her losses were many…

This is being shared with Poets’ United Midweek Motif the topic Cancer.

This recent poem Winter’s Accusation deals with cancer the disease. I write occasionally about it but I usually try to stay clear of those doors.

23 thoughts on “All I Have Are Ashes #Akhmatova #poet #societalcancer

  1. the ashes in the fabric of the shoe…reminds me of the holocaust museum…another powerful emotional pull for me…then add the thoughts of cancer and it comes across strongly in your words…


  2. I loved both poems, and you executed the Russian poet’s voice to perfection. Very poignant, the one shoe touched with ashes and the “winter breezes (that) kiss my cheeks with memories of him.” Beautifully done.


  3. “With remnents of him…” A shoe, ashes, memory–these are not enough–but what would be enough in the face of cancer that takes the young, or war or pogram, slavery or holocaust?
    We die a little even if left behinds. I feel this powerfully.


    1. I actually wrote it on Holocaust remembrance day but for some reason held it back. Yes I dont know where the shoe came from I just saw it in my mind as something tangible that was left to hold onto.


      1. Have you seen the movie version of Empire of the Sun as young Jim watches all the possessions of his once rich life floating down the river…he picks out a pair of too big golf shoes..a prize to a little boy..war or not…


  4. You capture the devastation cancer can cause physically and in society. I read “Winter’s Accusation” and I can understand why you don’t want to cross those doors. Thank you for living a artful life and sharing here.


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