Michael Fediw

HOLODOMOR by Michael Fediw

The year and its horror still haunt my nights.
The year thirty three, I was six, saw the fright.
On the land, in our hearts, still some promise we knew.
Gardens thrived on the hills where the orache leaves grew.

Under Lenin they say, czars were shot. Terror reigned.
Smash the patrons, the magnates and bourgeois. Take aim.
With a shrill insane voice Joseph Stalin proclaimed
Cut them down. Starve the kulaks who grow all the grain.

Arise all down-trodden and hungry, you must
Free land we will give you. This is our holy trust
Hand all of your stores to the commune “kolhosp”
Or we’ll drive you – we’ll grind you to Siberian dust.

The first raid came and the sheds were all emptied
Into sacks wheat was emptied for the commune farm.
In the second requisition our hopes lay there emptied.
Then a third, like our urns we lay broken, not a sound.

In our gloom we did eat what we could, dogs and cats
For the glory of their Five Year Plan and the rats
In our village, they hid all the children. Don’t cry.
Mothers prayed for their children. Please children don’t die.

How could this happen in Ukraine? Let us ask it.
As you know our Ukraine was the world’s great bread basket
Who sought truth? Who would tell? Where were you in that hell?
In the silence death raged as the hunger did swell.

All our future, our promise, our flowers had died
In the streets, bring your dead where you too will now lie.
On the land, in our hearts, no more freedom we knew.

On the hilltops lay death where the orache once grew.
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Date of birth: 31 August 1927
Place of birth: Makhnivka village, Vinnytsia oblast
Witnessed Famine in: : Dombalivka village, Vinnytsia oblast
Arrived in Canada: 1975
Current residence: London, Ontario
Date and place of interview: 16 December 2008, London, Ontario