Look to the poets and mystics
to imprint the revolution
on any act of the imagination
that contrives Russia in the mind.
In the cities along the east-west railway line
monuments of iron and stone
lionise Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.
Concrete and solid, they stand to the visions of men
who disregarded the lived evidence of cold and poverty,
discounting the fear and hopelessness
of a social upheaval
that was to turn power on its head,
where visions and dreams were reduced
to bushels and quotas,
where an implicit contract allowed
peasants-turned-workers to pretend to work,
and masters-turned-state, to pretend to pay them.
Siberia is gulags and whitened, wintered taiga forests
suffused with prisoners’ dreams of burdened escapes,
carrying the weight of their dissidence and ideals under
thin woollen blankets,
their knowledge of an unjust internment soaking like
snow into inadequate felted boots,
thousands of miles along the rails to the Urals and
Moscow and home.
Siberia is a limitless wilderness of magic and romance …
where dreams and fairy stories and visions and mystery
come to life in the forests and imagination
and build into the tangible and real
through long winter darkness.
Siberia is romance …
trust the poets.
© Sandra Renew 2013
< back to contents | next poem >