Vox Populi

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Arlene Weiner: Dead Russian Soldier

Stretched out in a foreign city

claimed to be his country’s.

How old? Eighteen, twenty?

Patriotism or mere obedience 

brought him here. 

Should we hate him, or pity?

We in the West aren’t clear    

of blood and expedient

excuse for conquest. 


Mother of this soldier, my hand 

to you. My father lived in the land

where your son lies unburied,

now wasted by fire once again,

my kin were slaughtered there,

interred unhonored. I hear 

“Slava Ukraini!” Words of glory—

this bloody story never ends.

Copyright 2022 Arlene Weiner

Source: The Kyiv Independent

9 comments on “Arlene Weiner: Dead Russian Soldier

  1. Barbara Mandula
    July 28, 2022

    The last line is all too true.


  2. Brenda Kuralt
    July 27, 2022

    So sad. So grim. I feel a certain pull because my father was from Ukraine. A town called Zhitomir that appears to have been bombed to oblivion.


  3. jbauer103waolcom
    July 27, 2022

    Thank you, Arlene, for this strong, succinct and empathetic poem.
    Beautifully crafted and so true…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      July 27, 2022

      I agree, Joan. The poem is so succinct and well crafted. A moving elegy for the unknown soldier, all the more powerful because he is the supposed enemy.


  4. melpacker
    July 27, 2022

    Yes, agree with Sean Sexton…sadness. And truth in both Arlene’s poem and Sean’s quote above.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sean Sexton
    July 27, 2022

    Nothing but sadness here. We know that anonymity. “There is always a worker on either end of the bayonet.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      July 27, 2022

      Thanks, Sean. Yes, sadness — even the enemy has a mother who mourns him.

      Michael Simms Publisher/Vox Populi Founder/Autumn House Press Author/Nightjar (poems) Author/American Ash (poems) Author/Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy (novel)


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