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Letter To Vladimir Putin – A Memorial To A Boy And His Friends

So, this is the war you wanted,
Your ambitions grand and vaunted
For a union of Kyivan Rus
Layed waste in ruins and dust.

Who were those peoples you admire
Enough to fill the land with fire?
They were legends – people of myth.
What deeds have you imbued them with?

No one really knows for certain.
Lost behind History's closed curtain,
Most scholars believe the Rus were
A mix of peoples here and there.

Whoever they were, they're gone now.
Time moved beyond them somehow –
They're lost in the dust you've raised,
New ruins for children's graves.

Yesterday, boys playing football,
In Kharkiv, as boys do: play ball,
Kicking it round their neighbourhood
Where lurked the Ghost in His dark hood.

A bomb explodes and three young boys,
Laughing, shouting in that brief poise
Of eternal darkness waiting:
Three boys' firey innoculating –

Three boys injured in the bomb's blast
Are rushed to hospital as fast
As medics can carry them there.
Mr. Putin, do you not care

For these children victims of War?
But War is a degenerate's whore.
Three young boys in intensive care,
One whose legs are no longer there

Blown off by the bomb's vicious blast.
In shock and awe, he breathes his last,
Gasps and dies, never more to play
Football on a late Winter's day.

Mr Putin, do you not care?
Is there no heart hiding somewhere
Inside your chest? Were you not blessed
With concern for those sins you confessed?

But, this iron man turns away
From the dreadful deeds of the fray,
The war's overwhelming sadness,
Its anger, disgust and madness …
03-03-2022, Coquitlam, BC

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Review Request (Direction): 
[This option has been removed]
Last few words: 
Thought I had already posted this on here a few days ago, but it seems I must have forgotten to do something. I have never been happy with the line about the "ghost in his dark hood" but have not been able to come up with something better. I'm not sure why it bothers me whenever I read it. I suspect because the line ends in a trochee and the rest of the poem tends to iambic, so it jars a bit. (How as Bill Shakespeare able to do it and get away with it, while I can't? Purely iambic metering gets to sound monotonous like a nursery rhyme.)
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content

Comments

the emotion...the raw passion of the poem carried me over any rough spots. I think this piece is brilliant. I especially liked these lines:

Three boys injured in the bomb's blast
Are rushed to hospital as fast
As medics can carry them there.
Mr. Putin, do you not care

For these children victims of War?
But War is a degenerate's whore.
Three young boys in intensive care,
One whose legs are no longer there

the man is less than a man, and insane. thank you for posting this!
*hugs, Cat

*

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

Thanks, Cat! I really appreciate getting comments and feedback. Interestingly, I also wrote two parodies of Boney M songs in connection with Putin's despicable and completely unwarranted invasion of Ukraine around the time I wrote that poem. I wanted to parody the other two, but couldn't find anyone interested in doing anything with the first two parodies (Rah Rah Vlad Poutine and Brown Nose In His Ring – the second parody was w.r.t. Lukashenko and his relationship to Putin.) Last night, I finally came up with a title for a parody of Daddy Cool. (I had been thinking of Vladdie Fool and Vladdie Tool, but wasn't happy with either of those.) How does Vladdie Ghoul sound to you? I wanted to parody By The Rivers of Babylon and had thought of a parody that talked about Rivers in the Donbas where Ukrainian forces obliterated a a pontoon bridge and Russian convoy, but that's old news now and the war in Eastern Ukraine has degenerated into a war of attrition. (It is unfortunate that we cannot come to Ukraine's aid with our own armed forces with our risking a nuclear war. Sadly, to avert the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation, which is almost certainly how a nuclear war would play out ultimately, the people of Ukraine have to suffer a long and pointless war. God, how I wish someone would put a bullet into Putin's head! And I'm a non-violent, lifelong pacifist talking this way!)

author comment

maybe he will catch something deadly or come down with something incurable, something like pancreatic cancer... a girl can always hope...

*hugs, Cat
ever, eddy

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

Thanks, Cat! I really appreciate getting comments and feedback. Interestingly, I also wrote two parodies of Boney M songs in connection with Putin's despicable and completely unwarranted invasion of Ukraine around the time I wrote that poem. I wanted to parody the other two, but couldn't find anyone interested in doing anything with the first two parodies (Rah Rah Vlad Poutine and Brown Nose In His Ring – the second parody was w.r.t. Lukashenko and his relationship to Putin.) Last night, I finally came up with a title for a parody of Daddy Cool. (I had been thinking of Vladdie Fool and Vladdie Tool, but wasn't happy with either of those.) How does Vladdie Ghoul sound to you? I wanted to parody By The Rivers of Babylon and had thought of a parody that talked about Rivers in the Donbas where Ukrainian forces obliterated a a pontoon bridge and Russian convoy, but that's old news now and the war in Eastern Ukraine has degenerated into a war of attrition. (It is unfortunate that we cannot come to Ukraine's aid with our own armed forces with our risking a nuclear war. Sadly, to avert the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation, which is almost certainly how a nuclear war would play out ultimately, the people of Ukraine have to suffer a long and pointless war. God, how I wish someone would put a bullet into Putin's head! And I'm a non-violent, lifelong pacifist talking this way!)

author comment

a very difficult piece!
Rhyming takes a different mind-set
and many cannot do it for long works.
.
I do not mind the sing-song; almost
nursery-rhyme pattern that you get from every other line rhymes
if it is an interesting story! And you can vary the length
of some lines to put the emphasis on them.

Sometimes, you have to be willing to get rid of a verse
that just isn't working. I say that if it isn't relevant
to the story, in a way that its' absence will make a huge difference,
chuck it! I will leave something I like out, rather than
ruin the feel of the piece by a glaring stumble.

I would leave out the stanza of:

"No one knows for certain...
I don't see where anything is lost.

I like the way you have used near-rhyme in some places;

"raised and graves" works well.

There are places where you can take poetic license and change the scene
like:
Yesterday, boys playing football
In Kharkiv, as boys do in Fall - [I know the scene takes place in the winter, but...
Kicking it 'round their neighborhood
Just playing like young boys should

If it's worth writing about, it's worth taking time and making effort,
rather than rushing to post. I really think that this can be a winner
if you want. ~ Geezer.
.

It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on two points. Firstly, if I set myself to write rhymed and metered verse, then I will stick to it because that's what I have set myself to do. I do write mostly free verse and I have occasionally added an extra beat to a line in a structured poem, because it sounded better, but it is rare for me to do that. (It has to sound significantly better before I will even consider doing it.) I started off, in Grade 12 writing rhymed poetry before I knew what meter even was. (i learned a little about meter in the Spring semester of Grade 12! I didn't really learn much and kind of figured it out from there, but immediately began incorporating it into my verses.) Just over a year later, in arguments with some hippies I was living with in Vancouver, I wrote my two first Free Verse poems for no other reason than to demonstrate how easy they were to write. To this day, I still feel that these two poems – written just to show off – are crap; but, these hippies really liked them. (They had disdained everything else I had written at that time. Mind, I look back on some of those early efforts and am inclined to roll my eyes!) Subsequently, in Toronto, I began experimenting more seriously with Free Verse (and even doing what seemed like novel things to a very unworldly me at the time, such as making a two-part title that was also part of the main text of the poem, and structuring it visually on the page to represent something – in this case, clouds passing across the sky – I knew nothing about "concrete poetry back then). From that point, until decades later, I mostly wrote Free Verse, occasionally delving back into structured forms. Then, decades later, while teaching Maths up North, I got back into structured poetry in a big way. I also like to mix Free Verse with Structured Verse in individual poems, but this is not one of those where I would want to do that. (Lately, I have been adding extra layers of complexity, such as writing a series of acrostic Petrarchan sonnets connected by a Free Verse thread. The first of these happened almost accidentally in the second themed collection of my poems I put together, called "Critique and Resistance". Towards the end, because of its activist nature, I threw in the first series of Acrostic Sonnets on Energy Issues, most of which got lost with all the moving around. This prompted me to bang off a new set, which got connected by a long poem that had nothing to do with energy issues and was a mix of free verse and structured verse that slags off Canadians for being unimaginative and boring! (I was born and mostly raised in this country and have lived here more than anywhere else (all over the country) and I do find Canadian attitudes to any kind of originality frustrating. I could never get published in this country, for example, because I utterly refuse to be trendy or adhere to fads and prescriptions.) To add to the complexity, there is a free verse thread running through the entire chapbook called "China's New Silk Road". And other poems from the past got tossed into the mixture as well. I'm tempted to post the Canada thread on here, but it is long, in multiple parts. I like it though, because most of the parts tell a story (except one which alludes to our two national anthems: Oh Canada and God Save the Queen). I hope I haven't annoyed you by typing up such a long (and hopefully not long-winded) reply. Apologies if this is so.

author comment

The bit you would have me throw out was an attempt to understand and castigate Putin's quasi-mystical reason for invading Ukraine: his idiotic obsession with the Kyivan Rus! Back in the 70s and 80s, and possibly before then, the Russians were thought to have been Swedish Vikings who invaded and conquered what is now Russia, the Ukraine and most of that region around the Crimea. Nowadays, the Rus, who were almost a legendary people, rather like the Aryans, Hitler and his pals were obsessed with, are believed to have been a mixture of Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric and Slavic Peoples, and not a pure race at all. Putin seems blithely unaware of this, or, if he is aware of it, it has not deterred him from trying to recreate what he imagines was the empire of the Rus which was destroyed by the Mongol invasions, in particular, those of the Golden Horde, who kept Russia backwards for centuries, unlike the other Mongol Hordes, who rapidly became civilised – Kubalai Khan for example adopting the civilisation of China. Interestingly, the Cossacks originated in Ukraine (Tolstoy wrote a novel called, if I remember correctly, it was 1981 when I read it! – Life Among the Cossacks) and were a mixture of Mongol, Slavic and Turkic Peoples who were very independent and democratic and not inclined to tolerate anyone coming along (such as Russia's Peter the Great) what to do.

Again, I have run away with myself and gone on and on, sigh … Apologies!

author comment

I have enjoyed your detailed explanation of why you have done what you have. It behooves me to remember, that there are people who really know what they are doing and the reasons for doing so. Feel free to give such detailed explanations anytime you feel I have missed the mark. ~Geezer.
.

It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

Sorry, couldn't resist switching to Geordie in the subject line. (I have to fill in the silly subject field before I can comment it seems.) Eeee! – ah culd carry on dee-in this in Geordy dialect, like! I sometimes throw Geordie into my poetry for the hell of it. (I also sometimes throw in a bit of German or French, both languages I learned the hard way and have since forgotten, alas!)

Your comments were good ones, since in some ways it does seem to represent going off topic if one is unfamiliar with the lunatic reasoning Vlad the Bad used at the beginning of his invasion (in addition to the later hogwash about saving the Ukrainians from new-Nazis). There has been a lot of analysis about Putain's obsession with (a) the Kyivan Rus and the empire they created centred in Kyiv and (b) his desire to imitate Peter the Great, who conquered that entire region (or attempted to) so Russia could have an ice free port on the Black Sea (which is a big part of what Poutine is trying to consolidate round the Sea of Azov).

Peter the Great seems to be Putin's biggest hero. He was an interesting figure in his day, a bit rough round the edges, but determined to bring Russia into Europe and modernise it after centuries of it being held back after the invasion of the Golden Horde. Interestingly, English explorers rediscovered Russia shortly after John Cabot discovered North America in 1497. They were determined to find a Northwest Passage and when the trip West didn't quite work out, they decided to go East past Norway and through the Arctic Ocean that way. IN the process, they rediscovered Russia. An then Henry VII died and Henry VIII was uninterested in exploration, so English exploration all but ceased until Elizabeth I became Queen. Big Pete, during the reign of Charles II in England and Louis XIV in France, travelled to Europe and lived in London and I think Rotterdam, studying ship-building and other useful arts. He was as willing to live and hang out with working class people as he was with his fellow kings! A rough, rude barbarian determined to civilise his people.

author comment

on a famous T.V. show from the 70's would say: "Verrrry interesting!" A history that I was vaguely familiar with and one that
certainly does explain Putin's fascination with Peter the Great and his obsession with reuniting the old Russia against the rest of the world. ~ Geezer.
.

It seems that the days and hours that people
are available for chatroom are staggered and
not a good match for most everyone. How about
if everyone just shows up at the door, whenever
they have a few free minutes?

This is a style I also enjoy. I kinda like the “Ghost in its hood”. If you’re looking for a line there I immediately thought of the grim reaper under his hood. So…”where lurked grim death beneath dark hood.” Hopefully that helps. I like this.

Tim

I'm glad you picked up that it refers to the Grim Reaper. Perhaps the "pale ghost in his dark hood" might work better, though it would add an extra beat to the line. But then, ghosts generally are pale, so it becomes a redundancy, sigh … I think it's just that the trochaic foot coming at the end of a line in a poem that is iambic sounds a discordant note, but then, given what comes next, perhaps I can put it down to metrical foreshadowing. What do you think? your suggestion should definitely get rid of the trochee though, but then, I would lose the metaphorical quality of the ghost. (I had considered using Death originally, capitalising it as a name.)

Thanks for taking the time to comment, by the way. Definitely appreciate it!

author comment

May be that discord in that one line might help with the mood. I mean, the type of death you’re writing about here isn’t harmonious with anything. Just a thought.

Tim

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