Biographical Poetry posted February 18, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
Russia's Martyr

In Honour of Alexei Navalny

by Debbie D'Arcy

Poem of the Month Contest Winner 
A charismatic heavyweight who fought against the state,
exposing deep corruption mired in scandal, greed and hate.
Against his psychopathic foe he waged a bitter war
by urging mass dissent against repression's brutal law.
But, when his threat became too rife, the world would be in shock,
for killers nearly took his life with deadly Novichok.
Surviving, thanks to German care, but rather than abstain,
he ventured back on Russian soil to fight his cause again.
He guessed the risk but wouldn't sway from going, come what may;
and true to Putin's evil ways, was captured straightaway.
His cross to bear was Stalinesque, injustice to the core;
and prison was his penalty, more torture still in store.
Despite it all, courageously, he kept his voice alive;
mid monstrous acts to quell his truth, he battled fate with drive.
He knew he'd never be released 'til Putin's reign was gone;
confined within his solitude, his fortitude fought on.
For shackles wouldn't tame this soul, his fearlessness was key.
He told his people, "Follow me, and you too will be free."
Refusing to be broken down, he'd forcefully insist:
"Fear not for me, for I have will; it's you who must resist."
And now in death, a martyr, with a message ever clear
to stand against elitist rule that stultifies with fear.
When liberty must rule supreme, let nothing then assuage -
"Stone walls do not a prison make nor iron bars a cage."

Poem of the Month
Contest Winner



Alexei Navalny 4 June 1976 - 16 February 2024
Died while serving a 19 year sentence in a corrective facility in the village of Kharp in the Russian Arctic. Details of death not known and probably never will be.

Image: courtesy of Google free pics; information sources: Wikipedia and internet news and reports.

Stanza 2: Novichok - a deadly military grade nerve agent that nearly killed him in 2020.

Stanza 3: Stalinesque - characteristic of Joseph Stalin (1878 - 1953) -
Communist terrorist dictator of the Soviet Union (1924 -1953), a period of global might to which Putin longs to return.

Stanzas 5: quotes are paraphrased from the following post to his supporters someone sent on his behalf during the latter part of his life in prison:
"You, not me, are being frightened and deprived of the will to resist. Putin must not achieve his goal. Do not lose the will to resist."

Stanza 6: quote by poet Richard Lovelace: "To Althea from Prison." He was an English Cavalier poet of the 17th century who fought on behalf of Charles 1 during the English Civil War. The message is that, without our freedom and civil rights, we incarcerate ourselves in our own prison of powerlessness and inhumanity.

Navalny rose to prominence as a blogger, lawyer, Russian opposition leader, political activist. But the beginning of his more meteoric rise was in 2011 when he fought against Putin's campaign to be re-elected once more as President of Russia. In the process of his opposition and commitment to expose corruption, elitism and repression, he has faced every political oppression and put his political movement above his own personal health issues. His unyielding defiance in the face of attempted murder, trumped up charges and unlawful, inhumane sentences has, in turn, contributed to the most important life in opposition politics seen in Russia in the last 30 years and, probably, longer.

In response to his sentencing: "The number doesn't matter. I understand very well that, like many political prisoners, I am serving a life sentence where life is measured by the duration of my life or the life span of this regime."
Sadly, his sentence finished with the former. But not his mission.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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© Copyright 2024. Debbie D'Arcy All rights reserved.
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