There is a native tradition of dissent and resistance
in this country where the winter cold
can pull out the claws of a wolf,
and the local poet heroes are
Alexander Pushkin and Musa Jalil’.
Here, politics means Revolution,
and a later apology for murdering a Tsar,
and the Dukhobori and the Old Believers
are exiled in Siberia for their belief and passion.
In Kazan, a man is made a statue,
a man bound in barbed wire overlooks the Volga,
a man who is a political poet
is put in jail and killed by the Nazis.
In Irkutsk, Pushkin wrote of the stream of love,
and the stream of sadness,
of two white roses,
when danger was a part of his life
ever since he picked up a pen.
Note: Dukhobors were exiled or sent to prison for refusing to fight for the Tsar. They believed it was wrong to kill. Many died in Siberia and some were assisted to emigrate to Canada in 1898.
© Sandra Renew 2013
< back to contents | next poem >