Poem “Extermination by Hunger”
by Nicholas M. Latyshko, Holodomor survivor Kyiv: Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Publishing House, 2004
I remember the Ukrainian Famine,
Of my early and simple childhood,
That was caused by the sickle and hammer
And the Communist Party’s – “no goods”!
I remember the people were dying
In their homes in their own land
And the children that always were crying
And their lives that they could not defend.
Going to school was a torturous feat
For a little, hungry, village fellow,
As skinny, as a blade of a dried out reed
With a growling and painful belly.
Give me some food, l begged my Mother
I’m not going to make it to school!
I know that my little love – Nicki
I’ll come and will help you, – don’t drool…
We cried and cried standing together
Without the hope, without the strife
That ARTIFICIAL, painful FAMINE
I shall remember all my life!
I went to school that painful morning
To learn my A,B,C’s in text,
The fate of “kulaks” and “burzhuivs”
And where the Party leads us next.
My swollen brother and hungry sister
We’re going to search for grain,
On Fields yet frozen and sinister
Blood-soaken Fields o’ Soviet Ukraine.
Corpses on streets – result of oppression,
People unable to bury them all
Hungry cried out for God’s compassion,
Help us survive before all of us fall.
Hearts were aching from the sorrow
Of fathers and mothers still alive,
To see their children dead in furrows
In land so fertile, whole Europe could thrive.
I remember the tears of my Mother
And father’s sad face in window’s blue glass
O! Those pictures forever so vivid-
Shall never fade, shall never pass.
What could the parents give their children
In hungry times of those deadly years,
When the whole country lay in ruins
And the whole nation was in tears…
Can well-fed people understand us
How much we suffered in those days.
When we were forging fate unknown,
Yet “Commies” never heard our prays.
And after all the aches and torment
We came to life again once more,
Our Ukraine again had risen,
We shall not suffer anymore!
We lived through torture and Chornobyl,
Czars, Kaganoviches and all
That could not break backbone of farmers
We lived through all to see them fall.
Why did not we stand up with Symon,
In battle fierce right to the end,
With Konovalec and Hrushevsky,
That tried so hard to free our Land?
l had two buddies, I remember,
One then had died and one’s alive
To tell the World about the FAMINE,
We shall not perish, we’ll survive!
O! Unforgetful years of suffer
And thirty two and thirty three
God give us strength and make us tougher
And keep our Land forever free!
We always knew and then and ever
The end will come for Moscow’s heist
The Holy Truth with us forever
Our God with us, our Jesus Christ.
Our Nation’s rising from oppression
And steers its fate with open eye,
And now will sing so ever loudly,
“Ukraine’s alive it’ll never die!”