Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Leningrad Cemetery, Winter of 1941"

That winter, the dead could not be buried.
The ground was frozen, the gravediggers weak from hunger,
the coffin wood used for fuel. So they were covered with something
and taken on a child's sled to the cemetery
in the sub-zero air. They lay on the soil,
some of them wrapped in dark cloth
bound with rope like the tree's ball of roots
when it waits to be planted; others wound in sheets,
their pale, gauze, tapered shapes
stiff as cocoons that will split down the center
when the new life inside is prepared;
but most lay like corpses, their coverings
coming undone, naked calves
hard as corded wood spilling
from under a cloak, a hand reaching out
with no sign of peace, wanting to come back
even to the bread made of glue and sawdust,
even to the icy winter, and the siege.
~Sharon Olds

What a terrible poem to come across at this time in my life. I wish with all my soul that the last few lines are...not true. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As do I hope the last several lines are not think they yearned for the war/starvation/siege/cold over the death that took them shows they are in a worse state than even that of the war and siege.

I hope it isn't true...and I hope you are okay...and I hope J is okay.

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