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The Border Land

12.10.12 Posted in today's words by

Darryl Willis’ most recent poem to appear here was Dlya moyi doicheri (November 2012).

The Border Land
By Darryl Willis

The land between,
for centuries trampled and abused.
The golden steppes, a killing field: 
burning ground and burial mound
razed by Tatar-Teutonic hands,
broken by hammered steel.
Beneath the sky lie fields of wheat
crimson in the setting sun,
but underneath Dnieper-deep
the blood of Bogatyr flow
merging with Hutzul-Cossack: one
dark, dreadful, primal stream.
Those who came left behind
the chaff of grain and broken stems;
but we remain and stand between
East and West with unbowed head.
Raiding kings have come and left
trampled, tore, and done their worst.
But we were here before. The steppes
are ours, bought with blood and heart—
and so we stay: the land between.

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