September 3, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Don Krieger




Artekovite Forever!



It sits on the Black Sea shore,

forested hills fronted on a smooth pebble beach,

bright sun, warm bunks, modern kitchens,

Artek, the Crimean Children’s camp,

retreat for The Young Pioneers,

the elite Communist Party youth group,

and for Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh,

Jawaharlal Nehru, Yuri Gargarin,

Bashar Al-Assad, Vladimir Putin.


It was built in 1925, a few years

before the camps of the third Reich

inspired Germany’s youth

to betray their humanity.


Three weeks attendance is the prize

in a poetry contest announced this week,

the target group ages thirteen to fifteen

of the Central African Republic,

population six million.


Less than half have flush toilets

a third can read,

three per cent have electricity,

nine per cent die at birth,

four per cent have HIV,


but they have diamonds, uranium,

and hungry minds.





Click here for an audio reading of the poem












Don Krieger

I have built satellites, worked in the operating room, been in a cult, …

I earn my living as part of a group which is trying to understand and treat head injury.

In my poetry and short blog pieces, I want to express ideas with unambiguous clarity and intensity.

I willingly sacrifice rhyme and meter, art, cleverness, elegance, and beauty for these.

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