The Secret In The Riddle

Like the secret in a riddle of door inside a key

An enigma in the sparkle of a teardrop’s mystery

Like the spinning ballerina in a silent music box

Of a tsar inside a star, in the gaze of the sly fox

Like the firebird’s deep wisdom, in a shallow dragon cell 

Or the promise of forever in a wilted scarlet spell

Like the shattered broken whole is the spacious Russian soul

Like a symphony’s poema in whisper of a scream

Or the weeping in the laughter of a dying Cossack’s gleam 

Like the coldest summer’s rivers and the warmest winter’s bath

Like the mercy in a sentence after God’s horrific wrath

The pliés inside a battle of a lovesick poet’s duel

And the letters, oh the letters, of the lover and the fool

Like the embers of hot coal is the frozen Russian soul

Like the crime within redemption of a sunset come too soon

Or the light within the darkness of the birch woods and the moon

In the magic of a gold egg in a doll inside a bear

In a fairytale of rhyming words with song, while earth with air

In the question of an answer and the friend within the foe

Lies the meaning of this cypher, lies the yes within the no

Like an ancient coded scroll is the open Russian soul 

Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic 2020

Post-Pandemic Planet

DA282E46-5B54-4A1C-B98A-6DC571534718When this illness turns to embers

And the death toll dims at last

Let us promise to remember 

What we all have come to pass


Let’s remember all the darkness

When we stand out in the sun

All the panic and the madness

When we thought it could have won


When from loneliness we shuddered

When our confidence collapsed 

Let’s remember we recovered

And the dread has now elapsed 


In the streets when passing strangers 

Let’s remember they were those

Who we fought to keep from danger

When we stayed inside our homes 


Let us never take for granted 

Our dear liberty to meet

Friends and colleagues at enchanted

Cafes, parks, and day retreats 


Let us relish simple freedoms

Nature’s breeze on cheeks and hair

Sunny rays on backs and bare arms

Strolls through gardens, crowds at fairs


When we go out for some coffee 

Read a book at bakeries 

When we dance, attending parties

Cherish every moment please


Let us thank our doctors, nurses

For their frontline bravery

Where the war was humans versus

An unseen feared enemy


Let us take this harsh pandemic 

And transform our selfish ways

So the future of our planet

Sees more selfless, joyous days


Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic 2020

The Crown of Suffering

470E1F60-EE8C-469A-BEEF-30F8B5C9CCF8I sat upon a lonesome boulder

And wept in grief of wonder lost

Here all my goodness spun in smolder

Here all my summers turned to frost


The cymbal boomed in loud crescendo

And rain began to beat my back

Still somehow over thund’ring bellows

I heard soft footsteps on the track


A figure stood there, sadness rendered

A weary man of wrinkled time

“Why do you weep in such surrender?

What trouble haunts you? What horrid crime?”


“My heart is shattered, dearest stranger

The cold dead ground hides my true love

My home is lost, my mind in danger

I am betrayed by God above”


The beggar smirked, though eyes still somber

And deep with wisdom as the night

The glow of suffering red embers

Played in his aura with delight


“You’re young, my child, let me tell you

A secret I have learned from woe

That pain in battle is a medal

That no dictator can bestow


You win while losing on this journey

The crown of suff’ring is a prize

For only when the stem is thorny

A rose might bloom toward sunny skies


The crater blown from sorrow’s power

Within your heart has gifted you

More space to grow your spirit’s flowers

And fill the void with knowledge new


Upon the battlefield of being

Where daydreams lay bemoaning death

You can collect the rot for feeding

This present moment’s rooted breath


You weep, but you are blessed, child

A door has opened up for you

To rise with courage, not be mild

To rage, to fight, expand anew”


And as his words dimmed in the darkness

A light of strength awoke again

So off I went into the stillness

My sorrow crowning a bravery’s reign


Viktoria Nikola 2019

Befriended Fear

I’ve learned I had a friend in fear

A trusted old companion

For in the darkest night of tears

It was my heart’s medallion


It clung to me in loneliness

In glory, loss, and hate 

Embraced me with its illness

And told me it was fate


It whispered gentle promises

Pledged loyalty till death

And even after the ellipsis

It vowed to find its breath


long after love forsook me

And joy betrayed my soul

Fear joined me faithfully

And my forlornness stole 


Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic

The Edge Of Darkness

The edge of darkness keeps a monster

That rules the wall of “now” and “then”

And on this bulwark, this imposter

Instills cold dread in nearing men


The air there smells of blood and murder

The wind there moans in loss and threat

One’s heart there whimpers in a murmur

One’s palms there drip with nervous sweat


The edge’s monster knows true horror

One’s greatest fear is his to bend

He could command one’s deepest terror

And turn one’s will to useless sand


Yet in its claws it holds a secret

That it can too be crucified

For all it takes is one’s defiance

A dab of courage in the eyes


To stand up to the dread it summons

And know one might succumb to fright

To weep and see the end as coming

Yet stay and bear the fearsome plight


For only then will this imposter

Yield way for one to leave the ledge

Where what-may-come lives in a fostered

Light’s warming loving waiting edge


Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic



When the night mist falls around you in a thick undying fog

And obscures the stars in heaven in a twisted monologue

When the hooting owl quiets and the wolf begins to howl

And you shiver to your core before night’s unsightly growl

Let hope hold you till sunrise

Till the dawn brings night’s demise


When the winter frost subdues you and you’re shaken to the core

Not a single ray of sunshine hints of summer’s months in store

And the blizzard shrieks its vengeance at the freezing mountain tops

Let the hope beneath the snow bloom like stubborn sweet Snowdrops

Let hope bud beneath the pain

Let it skip through pouring rain


Let it laugh with sparkling eyes

Let hope live, let hope rise


In loving memory of my grandmother Nadezhda Fedrovna Kondroshova (1927-2019). Her name meant hope in Russian.

Viktoria Nikola



I Am A “The”


I am a “the,” make no mistake

And in this phrase – no prideful ache

I am a “the,” do not forget

This is my promise, it is no threat


I am a “the,” I’m not an “a”

Made out of steel, not out of clay

I am a “the,” I’m not an “a”

And in my faith there’s no delay


Yet, well I know, that “the’s” are rare

And when they speak, the “a’s” but stare

Still, “the” I am, and “the” I’ll stay

And never waiver, I’m born this way


I did not ask to be a “the”

Nor did I ask to be a “huh”

But here I am, my path unpaved

My spirit soars, my fate’s enslaved


I am a “the,” yet this I say

That life is easier for “a’s”

For come that dreary judgment day

The “The” will say, you weren’t an “a”

© Viktoria Nikola (2008)

My Favorite Time Of The Year

Ornaments twirling on green needle branches

Glittering ribbons and song avalanches

Presents on sleighs and flying reindeer

This is my favorite time of the year


Lights in the windows and evergreen garlands

Chocolate candies and stories of old lands

Beautiful voices caroling cheer

This is my favorite time of the year


Cups of hot cocoa and crackling fireplaces

Building the snowmen with beams on our faces

Cuddling cozy with loved ones who’re near

This is my favorite time of the year


Shimmering snowflakes and fuzzy warm sweaters

Mistletoe kisses and sweet romance letters

Heart-pinching smiles, brimming with tears

This is my favorite time of the year


Holly and ivy and candles on tables

Wreaths on each door, calligraphy labels

Spending the evenings with family-dears

This is my favorite time of the year


Love and forgiveness, the healing of spirit

Granting us faith and letting us steer it

Joy and compassion, forgetting of fears

Oh, how I love this time of the year!


© Viktoria Nikola (2017)

An Era Gone

I woke to find the day was night

The mist of dew dried out

The morning jay’s song of delight

Replaced by music’s drought


I woke to find the trilling birds

Had flown down south for summer

The snow had come of cold curse words

And war beats of fate’s drummer


I woke to find an era gone

Its dreams dead for re-gift

An age had come and now twas done

And I never knew it lived


© Viktoria Nikola (2018)

My Favorite Pushkin Poem

Like the typical Russian, I love Pushkin’s work. It’s so profound and heartbreaking and it captures the very essence of all tortured souls. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to translate and make it sound as good in English as it sounds in Russian. Nonetheless, I tried. Here’s my favorite Puskin poem, translated by yours truly.

The Angel

By the gates of Eden, an Angel, gentle

Shone with his softly drooping head,

And in the darkness a Demon, rebel

Over the hellish ravine fled

The sp’rit of doubt and of negation

Looked at the other one of good

And in a flame of forced elation

For the first time, he understood

“Pardon,” he said, “but I have seen you

And not in vain you’ve shined me light

Not all in heaven I had hated,

Not all on earth I had despised.”

Alexander Pushkin

Translated by Viktoria Nikola