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

2019

LET HOPE LIVE

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

2019

 

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