Chants du Goulag by Ilona Martonfi

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How many dispossessed?

"Enemies of the people"

for many long years

labour camps in the Ural taiga

white sun, white sky


uninhabited.


"You have 15 minutes!"

pack a bag, sepia photographs.

Grandfather's sister, Lia,

brother Yaakov, deported

accused of being a kulak

owner of lands

in Sudilkov village


windowless cattle cars

for one thousand versts around:

Where to? For how long?

Wolf carcasses

earth dugouts and huts

ragged, lice-ridden.

Logging timber

rye bread rations

thin, watery soup

barbed wire of the camp.


But how long can a song last?

Smuggled out with prison letters

sphagnum, bog cranberry


steppe wildflowers

buried beyond the river.


Ilona Martonfi is the author of three poetry books, Blue Poppy, (Coracle Press, 2009.) Black Grass, (Broken Rules Press, 2012). The Snow Kimono, (Inanna Publications, 2015).


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Both sides after the opening play fast rhythm. In sixth minutes, Milner gets rid of David - Lewis contain

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