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Dark Times in Volhynia

A free verse poem dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor (the Ukrainian famine genocide)

By Talia DevoraPublished 9 months ago 2 min read
A group of female Holodomor victims. Photo retrieved from Google Images via HREC Education

*TRIGGER WARNING*: This poem contains language and content that may trigger viewers. Please read at your own discretion.

The poem

A statue of one of the victims of the Holodomor. Photo retrieved from Google Images via www.euroctiv.com

On a dark day in the 1930’s,

TURMOIL and poverty approach

as I cross the River Zbrucz.

To enter an area surrounded by HELL

in which I witness piles of corpses,

laying on the road to remoteness

Hearing the cries of victims,

as they encounter the consequences

of war and turmoil in Volhynia.

NIGHTMARES and terrifying thoughts

cross my mind as I sleep,

much more vivid and terrifying than what I see.

In this BLACKENED society,

RED and GREY have became the only colors left

for me to see and remember as I witness DEATH.

Mothers crying for their sons to return from the dead

have become a recollection forever graved into my brain.

Everything has been killed by silence,

a land full of beauty becomes SATANIZED,

where yellow flowers once bloomed.

From the healthy soil now remains

the memories of dripping dark blood,

and places of abandonment and sorrow.

A Holodomor memorial spot in Saskatchewan. Photo retrieved from Google Images via the HREC Education website.

What is the Holodomor?

The Holodomor was a hunger genocide that occurred in Ukraine/USSR from 1932-1933, peaking in the late spring of 1933. It was part of a more general Soviet famine (1931-1934) that also induced mass starvation in the grain-growing geographical areas of Soviet Russia and Kazakhstan. That being said, the Holodomor was made deadlier by a series of political commands and choices that were aimed mostly or only at Ukraine. In recognition of its scale, the hunger of 1932-1933 is often called Holodomor, a term taken from the Ukrainian words holod (hunger) and mor (extermination).

The emergence of the famine lay in the decision by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, as a means to combine agriculture in 1929. Teams of Communist Party agitators forced peasants to let go of their land, personal property, and occasionally their housing to community farms, and they deported the kulaks (wealthier peasants), as well as any peasants who refused collectivization altogether. The refusal to collectivize resulted in the deprivation of food. The government prohibited people to pick up food from the ground of fields, and from moving around the country to search for food.

The outcome of the Holodomor was brutal. In the spring of 1933, death rates in Ukraine increased greatly. Between 1931 and 1934, at least 5 million individuals succumbed to hunger all across the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Among them were at least 3.9 million Ukrainians.

Photo retrieved from Google Images via news.wgcu.org

Thank you for taking the time to read another one of my poems/articles. I remember studying the Holodomor in high school, and I found it both fascinating and emotional. For a creative writing course I took in high school, I was instructed to write a poem that contained as much imagery as possible, so I wrote the poem Dark Times in Volhynia. I discovered it on my Google Docs account, so I decided to edit and publish it on Vocal. If you enjoyed reading this poem/article, please give it a ❤️, share it with others, comment, and please feel free to send me a tip to show your appreciation and support. To find and read more exciting content, hit the "magic subscribe button" and visit my public profile. Stay tuned for more poetry, recipes, stories, articles, and much more!

Please feel free to follow me on IG @tdwrites24!

By Polina Rytova on Unsplash


By Tina Hartung on Unsplash

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About the Creator

Talia Devora

Poetess, visual artist and lifestyle/quiz writer! My pastimes include reading, sleeping, gaming, music, fitness, etc! Be yourselves, be kind and value life! Let's connect and be friends!

My IG accounts: @tdwrites24 & @tdcreates97

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Comments (2)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran9 months ago

    I didn't know anything about Holodomor. Thank you so much for sharing about this. Loved your poem!

  • Nice, 💖😉✌️📝I Like Yellow Flowers

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