To Live a Life is Not to Just Cross a Field....

To Live a Life is Not to Just Cross a Field…. 
Russian Proverb
by Ariadne Clifton

Harvest season with its dry hot days.
New country, new language.
My aunt, my grandmother, and I
took a walk through a field of tall and fragrant grasses; 
sunlight bounced about the cloud shadows.
They chatted in Russian about simple things— 
nothing to do with the war they had just witnessed,
the dead they left behind or the cruelty 
they remembered in their dreams nightly.
I skipped along the narrow path between the grasses.
Suddenly they froze. 
Far ahead appeared a small figure of a man. 
The sun was bright behind him.
We could see the outline of a scythe in his hand.
Holding my hand tightly, my grandmother pulled forward,
walked past the stranger, crossed to the far end of the field
bordering the woods. 
  “Kjiv 2001,”   Oil, Mixed Media on Canvas   by Elissa Melaragno

“Kjiv 2001,” Oil, Mixed Media on Canvas by Elissa Melaragno

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Ariadne Clifton has been exploring and telling her personal story through her poetry. She was born in Yugoslavia to Russian parents (members of a Russian emigre community) who were forced to flee their country during the 1917 Revolution. At the time of the Second World War her family once again fled the communists in Yugoslavia. She spent the first six years of her life in refugee camps with her grandparents. The Russian language and the mysticism of her Russian Orthodox faith hold her fast to her family, her heritage, and their losses.