On the Winter Wind: A Poem

Winter always makes me think of the Soviet experience in World War II. The severity of the Russian winter made what was already a brutal and difficult war even worse; and there must have been some unimaginably bleak days for the soldiers who were trying so desperately to defend their Motherland.

Îáîðîíà Ìîñêâû

Artillery defending the vicinity of Moscow. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #46802/ Temin/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Last night I wrote this poem, with the 1941/42 defense of Moscow in mind. For me, the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War was defined by great suffering and tragedy but also an omnipresent determination to go on. Even while being routed by the invading Wehrmacht in the first months of the war, people remained defiant and resolute in their cause. I hope you enjoy the poem, and its accompanying photographs of winter on the Eastern Front.

800px-rian_archive_2564_soviet_planes_flying_over_nazi_positions_near_moscow

Here, Soviet aircraft overfly German positions near Moscow. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #2564/ Samaryi Guraryi/ CC-BY-SA 3.0

poster_defend_moscow

A wonderful poster boldly stating, “We will defend Moscow!” By unknown author, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

On the Winter Wind

The winter wind is coming,

A wraith riding on his wings

Coming, closer, coming

And the wraith unearthly sings;

Its song not yet known to man

Harsh and fierce, it fills the sky

And now, now I understand

It sings a battle-cry.

The winter wind approaches

And on his wings is War

From homes and fields and trenches

We hear the cry once more

The cry of conquest, ages old

They come as men and leave as bones

Forgetting that we are Russian souls;

More stubborn here than stones.

Winter’s breath cannot break us,

Nor can War’s fatal song

Triumph will not be denied us;

When we see these frosty spirits gone.

The winter wind shrieks above

We sense the wraith’s most vile lure

But their assault is not enough;

We are Russian, we endure.

© Adair Jacobs, 2016

Russland, bei Istra, Flüchtlinge

A tank of Germans with what appear to be Soviet civilians, perhaps displaced. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B15686/ Gebauer/ CC-BY-SA 3.0

789px-rian_archive_429_fresh_forces_going_to_the_front

On November 7, thousands of fresh troops marched through the heart of Moscow on their war to the front. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #429/ Oleg Ignatovich/ CC-BY-SA 3.0

800px-german_army_retreat_from_moscow

German soldiers retreat through the snow and winter wind. From Druhá svetova válka strucné dejiny, nakladatelstvi Svoboda Praha via Wikimedia Commons, unknown author, public domain.

rian_archive_266_tankmen_going_to_the_front

Tankers go to the front with hope; their tank displaying the words “Happy New Year!”. Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #266/ Alexander Kapustyanskiy/ CC-BY-SA 3.0

 

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5 thoughts on “On the Winter Wind: A Poem

  1. Oliver Stone’s The untold history of the United States is worth watching to know about the sacrifice of the Russian people.

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