“Paint On Pasteboard” by Peter Goodwin

I was about to chuck it, in a push to clear space
but the image, painted on pasteboard, looked vaguely
familiar, a winding river, wandering through lush woods,
triggering a memory of a long ago summer,
of picnics on a bluff, smiling women flirting,
the slow gentle current taking us, like driftwood,
floating along its curving meandering path, while
he set up his easel to capture the Ukrainian light.

So much seemed possible, bathed in summer days
when Perestroika loosened the cold grip of communism,
who could have imagined that the regime would collapse,
Ukraine become independent and fritter its freedom,
imperial Russia return and that pristine river valley,
so close to Donetsk would become a battlefield,
the river washing away blood and pleasure, beauty lost
and almost forgotten, but for paint on pasteboard.


 

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