Poem of the Week: Fear and Want in Revolution (A Russian Pantoum)

by Linda Newman Woito
Iowa City, Iowa Branch

 

It has been a bitter winter.

Russian guards are still outside.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Priests lead them all in prayer.

 

Russian guards are still outside.

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

Priests lead them all in prayer.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

 

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

 

It has been a bitter winter.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

 

Russian guards are still outside.

Today the sunrise comes two hours late.

Chickens hide within the barn, emptied of drying hay.

Children of the Village have forgotten how to dance.

 

Water in the cow-barn is freezing now.

Russian guards are still outside.

Who will watch the horses dancing?

Priests lead them all in prayer.

 

Comments

  1. Linda N Woito says:

    Thanks to all commenters — greatly appreciated!

  2. Linda N Woito says:

    Thanks to Calder Lowe, Heather Banks, Brenda Layman and Laura Walth for your insightful and encouraging comments!! Very very much appreciated, since we poets seldom know how our poetry has affected or even reached an audience.

  3. Shelly Reed Thieman says:

    I am very fond of the pantoum poetic form. When the words are painstakingly chosen, the pantoum becomes lyrical and depending on on subject, even lullabic. I really enjoyed your poem. No small feat!

  4. Laura Walth says:

    I agree with Brenda, Heather, and Calder. It felt like you painted the picture with words. The images stood out as I read your poem. Thanks for sharing the poem and the poetic style.

  5. Linda, I love the way you have used this form. The repetition is very successful in evoking a haunting sense of fear. The lurking military presence hovers overall as life struggles to maintain a semblance of order and hope. Cows, chickens, children, and priests provide a deep resonance of what once was and the desire to keep hope alive against the odds. This is the best new poem I have read in quite a while. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Heather Banks says:

    Amazing form. I think my poetry group will want to rise to the challenge!

  7. I find your usage of the Russian Pantoum form intriguing and the poem’s content riveting.
    Grief, loss, sorrow and the Sacred are skilfully juxtaposed against the backdrop of the
    ominous military presence.