Mirage of Greatness. a poem by Gerald Seniuk

Gerald Seniuk


Oh Putin, how sad you must feel,
humiliated and beaten back in Kyiv, which 
you boasted would be taken in three days.
The embarrassment of all those tanks,
strung out, unable to move forward,
unable to escape, all proudly marked
with your own nazified Zed— how
you must dread having to look at all
those pictures of impotence and loss.

Remember when you jovially counselled Ukraine
to submit and enjoy what was about to take place,
twinkly eyed boasting about a metaphorical
rape that Ukraine might as well roll over and enjoy.
And in your failure, you instead raped mothers,
sometimes in front of their children,
sometimes both at the same time.
 What are you? Are you the Devil?

No, you’re not the Devil, you’re just a
shoddy, ugly man, like your heroes Ivan,
Stalin, and Hitler. You’re not the Devil,
but you are his friend. Do you know 
the Devil laughed at you when you ran
from Kharkiv, wetting your pants, dropping
your gun, and hiding in women’s clothes?
At Kherson, your third humiliating defeat, you
managed a sort of success, an organized retreat.
 But a loss, none the less.

Your most pathetic humiliation is Soledar.
After a year of sending more lambs to bound over
fields laden with your corpses, you have captured
this insignificant village of no strategic value.
So desperate for any win, you pound your chest
and crow about taking this settlement that is
far, far from the prize you crave,
the Golden Gates of Kyiv.

You remain smugly satisfied, and pretend that all
is according to your plan.  Maybe it is.
You seem to see yourself as a great, powerful man,
but it is easy to deceive yourself and your people.
When you speak, mirages of greatness appear,
and people cheer. And like Gods of past myths,
you point a finger at Dnipro and dozens die
in their homes, in their beds. Your left eye stares 
toward the civilians waiting outside the Kramatorsk
railway station, and sixty men, women, and children
die, another one hundred and ten are scarred for life.  
Your right eye glares at the women and children
huddled in the basement of the Mariupol theatre,
and another six hundred die under the Red Cross.

No, Putin, you are not any kind of God.
You are a failed man, a weak man,
the opposite of a strong, virtuous man.
You have control of the Devil’s toys,
so, while you flee humiliation and
defeat in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson,
your only power is to destroy.

You are lost. You see that, don’t you?
Or have you, even now, no understanding
of the future that will arise from your 
failed, genocidal invasion of Ukraine?
It is plain to see.

Russians who worshipped you
will flounder, stumbling toward
an uncertain future, unsure of
their identity, of their purpose.
Russians lying in prisons for
calling out your lies will tell the
 truth about what you have done.

Ukraine and Ukrainians
will rise from your rubble,
grasping in both hands
the noble vision its people
strive and die for.

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Gerald Seniuk resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where his parents came when they immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1928.  He is retired from a career in law, has worked as a journalist, is an adjunct professor, and has authored legal articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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