Years of Living Dangerously

Babushka kept a pig in the bathtub
while the Red Army raided barns
and larders enforcing Holodomor.
Outside on the Kiev streets bloated
stick bodies staggered, staining snow
-drifts like squashed bluebottles.

The children named the pig Binka
against their mother’s warnings.
Come slaughter day they waited
on the balcony with scarves tight
round their ears but the screams
rang loud and their tears froze.

The British three day week; fish, chips
by candlelight. I strutted my hot pants
to Bowie and Bolan on Pirate Radio;
sniggered when Papa built secret shelves
inside the chimney breast to hide tins
of flour, sugar, rice, pasta and preserves.

The year of Covid 19; I empty bookcases,
arrange tins of beans, soup, fruit and tuna.
Lockdown. I stare out at an empty street
counting down every wavering heartbeat.


Original photo of Babushka in 1960s UK taken by my grandfather and recreated by myself



2 thoughts on “Years of Living Dangerously

  1. Graphic, powerful, and unflinching, as I have come to expect from you work, Nikita. It is shocking to see even an echo of that horror, how in this day and age? I want to believe that people are different, that science and enlightenment have carried us forward, and yet even here in Australia, I see discomforting signs of cruelty and uncaring everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Steve, how are you in this difficult time? Thanks for your interest in my work. Holodomor killed approx 7 million Ukrainians through deliberate starvation and upto a total of 10 million in the USSR. It is the hidden holocaust and overlooked in mainstream history although there’s currently a film called Mr Jones. The film reveals that the British establishment knew about the genocide but turned a blind eye for fear of Stalin. Sadly history repeats itself. The Coronavirus is also revealing an ugly side to human nature with young and healthy people ransacking our supermarkets while the vulnerable go without. I am self isolating due to health problems so my father’s habit of stocking up on basic supplies is serving me well. Inherited trauma can be useful! Take care.


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